The importance of daylighting

By Gary Dean, OnLevel UK.

Ensuring your home, workplace or recreational space maximises the use of natural light is fast becoming an integral part of building design.

The wellbeing benefits of natural light are compelling, from boosting your vitamin D, helping to ward off seasonal depression, and improving sleep, while natural sun boosts energy and strengthens organs.

Natural sunlight is economical and sustainable. By increasing your building’s exposure to the sun with effective design and space planning you can create a cost-effective, light-filled sustainable building.

At the end of 2018 the British Standard EN 17037:2018 was released relating to daylight in buildings. The standard encourages building designers to assess day-lit spaces in buildings and ensure they’re successful. It allows building designers and developers to focus on a building’s daylighting objectives, as well as tackle other issues related to daylight design, such as view out, protection against glare, and exposure to sunlight.

The document gives information on how to use daylighting to provide lighting within interiors, and how to limit glare. It defines metrics used for the evaluation of daylighting conditions and gives principles of calculation and verification.

Fundamentally, daylighting is the practice of efficient design; the positioning of windows, skylights, and reflective surfaces to allow the flow and capture of sunlight within a building, so that sunlight can provide effective internal lighting, reduce the use of artificial light, and harness thermal capability to ensure energy savings.

Glass is a perfect material for creating light filled spaces and maximising efficiency due to its capacity to ‘trap’ sunlight for thermal gain. Furthermore, the structural benefits of glass provide building designers and alike with the opportunity to create large expanses of sun-filled interiors and greater ability to capture and flow natural light in and around building spaces.

Glass fixtures and fittings play a big part in ensuring effective daylighting in buildings, specifically glass balustrades and Juliet balconies. Frameless glass balustrades are particularly well suited due to the ‘all glass’ look and the minimal ‘frame’ (fixing channel). Likewise, more traditional glass clamp balustrading, are used on staircases in atria and hallways to maximise the flow of natural light to create light-filled spaces.

OnLevel’s range of products are ideally suited to maximising light due to their sleek minimal design. We are happy to advise clients on the most suitable solution to suit their light filled design ideas.