We need sunlight to live. It provides our body with life sustaining nutrients and we generally feel better, are more alert, see better and perform better when natural light is present. But so often, we’re cooped up indoors most of the day.
Wendy Wheeler-Martinez, director of design at BDA Architecture said at the 2012 Hospital Design Conference at CVC Kansas City that there’s growing interest in the influence of the indoor environment on health and the potential benefits that daylight can bring toward reaching this goal. Studies that reference daily exposure to natural light in the work environment, report reduction in employee absenteeism, higher productivity and improved achievement. Here’s more of Wheeler’s tips:
Here are some ways to let more sunshine into your facility:
- Bring light deeper into the building.
- Diffuse the light.
- Prevent excessive brightness ratios/reduce sever glare.
- Prevent or minimize veiling reflections.
Artificial light and workstation lighting issues
Help employees work more productively by being aware of these lighting conditions:
- Glare: Excessive brightness within your field of view. Contributing sources are direct lighting, windows, reflection and improper task lighting.
- Contrast: The differences in brightness levels. Contributing sources are hot spots, dark ceilings, and shadowed walls.
- Lack of flexibility: Studies report that the ability of an employee to control (to a degree) the light directly around his or her work area has led to better production and morale. Each individual has his or her personal preferences and requirements for light. Maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Successful lighting design
- Indirect light: Soft, general background light source free of shadows. Eliminates contrast and glare.
- Task light: Supplemental glare-free light source used to perform daily activities. Allows flexibility to the user.
- Aesthetic lighting: A combination of different lighting types is always successful. Layer different types of light for an optimum effect and maximum flexibility. In addition to the background lighting, incorporate fixtures to highlight key elements with accent light, provide fixtures to serve a specific purpose, and add decorative lighting for atmosphere.
- Ambient light: A hidden source of light that washes a room with a glow, creating very little shadow.
- Accent light: Directional lighting that adds interest or highlights a certain object or unusual architectural feature in a room.
- Decorative light fixture: Similar to an accent light in that it can focus on a certain object, but it can also be the light source itself.
Interior effects and tricks
The right lighting can make a space fell bigger or cozier. Here's tips for how to use lighting to trick the eyes.
- A high level of luminance in a room can give the impression of a larger volume.
- To rise a ceiling visually, splash a heavy concentration of light toward the ceiling or upper portions of the walls.
- If a ceiling is too high for a space that wants to feel more intimate, incorporate fixtures that shine light down toward the floor. A shadowed ceiling will appear lower.
- Open up a small, confined room by washing a wall with light.
- If a room is too wide, illuminate its narrow walls.
- If a room is too narrow, illuminate its wide walls.