Windows can provide a great view, but more than that, if they’re placed in the right locations, then they can also save you money on your utility bill and keep you more comfortable at home or work. It’s called day lighting and it takes a simple concept to a new level. Day lighting combines lots of things – everything from the type of window, window placement and interior design to control how sunlight comes in. They all work to maximize benefits from natural sunlight.
Windows that face south are best in the U.S. They let in the most light in the winter months but little direct sun during the summer keeping the inside cooler. North-facing windows are also good for day lighting they let an even natural light with little glare and little summer heat. Windows that face east and west don’t work nearly as well for day lighting they do provide lots of light in the morning and afternoon but it often comes with lots of glare and excess heat during the summer months.
Office buildings would benefit from skylights that team up with windows to bring in as much natural light as possible. This would reflect and enhance the daylight so that it fills the room. This would reduce the need for overhead lights, and make the office more energy efficient.
To account for glare an office building can place hoods outside around the windows. These hoods also cut down on summer heat keeping the office cooler and more comfortable. On the inside, louvers or tinting reduce glare and also direct light to reflective surfaces inside allowing plenty of natural light to come into work areas. One big help to day lighting is the window technologies available today. Windows are now way more energy-efficient. They insulate while still letting the light in.
Offices may also consider installing electrochromic windows, which change with the brightness of the sunlight outside. As the Sun tracks across the sky it darkens to keep excess heat out. It’s like giant polarized sunglasses.
Day lighting can have a positive effect studies have shown that with good day lighting at the office productivity goes up and absenteeism goes down, and that’s good for the bottom line. Natural lighting and heating means you use less electricity and lower your utility bill, and the more natural lighting the more money you can save.