Design Aspects of Natural Lighting in Buildings
CLIMATE: the local climate plays a crucial role in placement of windows and vents in a building. Having large expanses of glazing in a cold climate will help to keep the building warm but it will not make sense in a tropical climate since the building will get heated up.
TRACK THE SUN: Understanding how the sun moves round your home will allow you to plan your layout to follow it throughout the day. For example, try eating breakfast in an east facing room and spend evenings in a west-facing space, to capture the sunset.
SOUTH-FACING ROOMS: Typically, people associate south-facing windows with enjoying the best natural (warm-toned) light. In response, many house builders locate their main living rooms to the south, specifying larger windows to increase the sun’s rays. Sometimes this may result in excessive heating of the house. The windows have to be well balanced as to avoid over heating and at the same time allow good lighting of the spaces.
GLAZED ROOMS: Avoid building conservatories and sunrooms with glass roofs facing due south, as these will overheat and are better located to the east or west.
NORTH-FACING ROOMS: Northern light is a pure, blue-toned light that can make a room appear cold. Service spaces, such as utilities and bathrooms, are frequently positioned to the north with smaller windows, to prevent the areas from becoming cold due to heat loss.
DOUBLE-FACING ROOMS: Introducing windows on two sides of a room will not only create a double aspect, but will also ensure that the space is well lit throughout the day.
FRAMES: Slim window frames allow in the maximum daylight without unduly obstructing the view. Alternatively, frameless glazing does away with any kind of supporting framework, by attaching glass to glass directly with silicone – the perfect solution for corner windows.
Inside your home, use clear glass, frosted glass or mirrored doors that separate areas, but let in light.
ROOFLIGHTS: Skylights can easily and quickly be installed in both flat and pitched roofs, and this does not usually require planning permission. They can allow far more light to flood into the room, all through the day, than you get with regular, vertical windows.’
BASEMENTS: It is important to let hot air escape from rooms and if there is a window, most of us would open it to let air circulate. However, if the room in question is windowless or below ground a different solution is needed. So, when designing rooms within buildings, especially core spaces, basements and windowless areas, ensuring there is good fresh air ventilation is equally as important as high levels of natural light.