Beyond energy efficiency and cost savings: the impact of natural light

13 Oct 2021

Human beings evolved around the natural day-night cycle. Until the invention of electricity, natural light was the main light source.

Nowadays we spend the majority of our time indoors exposed to artificial lighting. Hence, natural light is playing an important role in our health as ever.

The benefits for building occupants

Here we summarise a large literature review that investigated the effects of natural light on indoor dwellers. 

Natural light is beneficial to building occupants’ health, productivity, and safety. It can reduce stress levels in office workers by creating a pleasant workplace environment. Productivity rises when workers’ health improves. Employers can also benefit financially as a result of increased output.

Productivity increases in industrial environments because of improved colour rendering and better quality of light provided by natural light. Moreover, workplace safety improves with better lighting conditions.

Natural light also helps students perform better. Children in daylit classrooms score higher on tests than students in windowless or dim classrooms.

Natural light also promotes patient recovery in health care facilities. It allows for the proper vision for the elderly in assisted living homes. Because of the pleasant atmosphere, hospital employees can also benefit from natural light. Patients will feel more at peace when the personnel is happier, and the staff will be calmer when they observe patient improvement.

The key takeaways

Natural light improves building occupant wellbeing and should be an important consideration for building designs. Increasing employee wellbeing and productivity can have direct monetary benefits for both building owners and employers.

But what happens when the built environment cannot be changed?

LYS has developed a wellbeing programme that educates and changes peoples’ behaviour around their light exposure. At the end of the 2-week programme, a 50% increase in natural light is observed among users. Learn more.