The importance of natural light in commercial spaces
How to get your commercial project’s daylighting right
To get the daylighting right on a project, the design needs to go way beyond the window design. Daylighting isn’t just focused on glazing but the whole integrated design concept that involves the building’s climate, orientation, floor plan and the lighting design. Daylighting needs to be considered at the start of a project to ensure it works effortlessly with the wider architectural design.
Whether the design concept is aiming to reduce energy usage, improve internal environments of the occupants or generate more LEED points, maximising natural light within commercial buildings is an important part of good design. The strategic placement of glazing to maximise the influx of natural light has been shown to improve productivity, reduce absenteeism and improve general well-being.
Office design post Covid-19
In the current situation, architects and designers are looking at how to develop the future of office design post Covid-19 while maintaining bright and airy working environments. Designers will be looking at modern methods to achieve social distance at desk spaces as well as walkways and communal areas without obstructing the flow of natural light.
The carefully considered placement of internal glazing will benefit commercial spaces while maintaining the modern interior design that has been developed over the last years. The benefit of internal glazing is that it can be added to existing interiors at a fast rate (as it is relatively easy to retrofit) or added to new commercial interiors as part of a new wave of post-Covid-19 office interior design.
Why is natural light in offices important?
Natural light is good for your health. As humans, we revolve around the cycle of the sun and for thousands of years, the sun has been worshipped as the “source of life” by many religions. This belief comes predominately from the human circadian rhythm which is responsible for our natural body clock that regulates the function of our bodies as well as sleep cycles.
Before the introduction of artificial lighting, the sun determined the working hours and living patterns of humans. However, as artificial lights were developed, the exposure to longer levels of bright light tricked our bodies to stay alert for longer and increase our working hours. Modern working culture has also seen our time spent outdoors during daylight hours reduced as we spend so much time inside offices and commercial buildings.
Exposure to natural light is also beneficial for human health as natural light has been proven to boost the working environment, resulting in happier working environments. If humans are having to work in spaces that are disconnected from the natural environment, then moral levels decrease. Natural daylight helps humans to produce Vitamin D which helps to keep our bodies healthy and our immune systems efficient – which can only be a benefit, especially now.
Natural daylight also helps to improve efficiency and productivity as the light and airy working environment creates happier staff members which in turn leads to improved productivity (as people work better when they are happy).
Allowing natural light throughout commercial buildings while following Covid-19 social distancing guidelines
The benefits of natural light are clear, but architects are not always able to create their architectural designs to allow the absolute maximum levels of natural light into the building, as other design factors come into play. With new technologies and design techniques always being developed, there are increasing positives to allow natural light to flood into commercial buildings even following Covid-19 social distancing in the workplace guidelines.
By using glass panels for internal offices instead of solid interior walls, natural light can travel unencumbered throughout an office space. Glass walls are also space-saving as they are slimmer than most solid interior walls, which provides the occupants with a larger space to manoeuvre and enhance the spacious and airy atmosphere that most modern offices aim to achieve.
To achieve both privacy and natural light in internal glass offices, there are several solutions available including fluted glass and switchable privacy glass. Fluted glass offers permanent privacy as the reeds of the glass distort vision while allowing light to pass through. Whereas privacy glass offers temporary privacy as and when it is desired. Privacy glass can be switched on and off at the touch of a button, so light can travel freely throughout the space when privacy isn’t needed.
How to choose the right glazing to maximise light in offices and commercial buildings
Allocating a large proportion of your project’s budget on glazing to maximise the number of windows on the project will definitely allow a lot of light in. However, the glazing specification needs to be carefully calculated otherwise the interior will suffer from unpleasant glare and hotspots which will cause the occupants to draw the blinds – defeating the intention of the glazing.
Speaking to a technical glazing advisor at the early stages of your project will help you to find the right type of glazing and shading solution that can reduce glare and prevent solar gain while allowing maximum light levels into the building.
For more information about office designs responding to the COVID-19 distancing guidelines for offices and commercial spaces, simply call our technical team who will be able to help and offer advice tailored to your specific needs. Visit our contact us page to see all the ways that you can get in touch with us.
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