The public is now far better educated about the importance of wellbeing and what can be done to improve it. The conversation started in the educational environment and in the public sector, with new-build schools and hospitals fostering ways in which the actual build could influence the wellbeing of the building’s inhabitants.
It’s a movement triggered by the realisation that the structures that workers, children and patients are based in have an impact on these individuals’ mental health and general levels of happiness.
Health and wellness have become something of an obsession. Intrinsically linked, they are influencing all types of design and architects, builders and developers are engaging with this trend and coming up with more methods to boost natural light – which has been deemed as the number-one solution to improving wellbeing.
We are all governed by our surroundings, and we automatically feel happier and more uplifted in bigger, naturally brighter spaces.
By utilising glass in the roof and having bigger windows, we are also able to enjoy the sensation of being more connected to the outdoors.
The whole concept of ‘bringing the outdoors in’ is one of the greatest badges of wellbeing and a box that many developers are extremely keen to tick – and it’s not just in the workplace or our schools.
The issue of wellbeing is equally relevant in the home, particularly as this is where most of the population spends the majority of its time. It’s been proven that increasing natural light has a very real and positive effect on a dwelling’s occupants with acknowledged benefits including an increase in the body’s endorphins and serotonin, higher energy levels, greater productivity and better sleep – it regulates the body’s internal clock and is known to improve sleep quality overall.
With over 60% of homeowners rating natural light as the most important feature of a home, according to MyGlazing.com statistics, it’s difficult to overlook.
House-builders need to consider ways to optimise the opportunity for natural light in the home – particularly when the average window size simply isn’t enough or light infiltration through traditional windows is low.
In some developments – where buildings are developed in close proximity to one another, for example – natural light struggles to get in through traditional windows, meaning house-builders need to find suitable alternatives. The good news is that there are a number of ways to stand out and create a real ‘wow factor’ while letting the light flood in; windows aren’t the only solution. You can create a stylish, contemporary living space that is filled with natural light and truly transforms a home by adding a skylight to the property. In fact, a window on a flat roof lets in significantly more light than a vertical window.
Making a statement and increasing height
Gone are the days when crestings or finials were incorporated into roof design, architects are now using skylights to make a statement in a property. By opting for a pitched, lantern-style design, you can also increase the height of a room, adding to the illusion of extra space and promoting an open, airy feel, with such products also offering higher levels of natural light than conventional designs of the same surface area.
Available in a range of colour and size combinations, and self-cleaning options, these products are ideal for new builds as they are quick and easy to install and are designed to impress. They provide a relatively simple solution to letting the light in, with a dramatic, powerful effect that adds a mark of quality to properties.
Cutting costs and saving energy
There are other major benefits to specifying roof windows and rooflights, aside from the provision of natural light, which include the contribution that these windows and pitches can make to the thermal comfort of a building and the additional source of ventilation that they also provide.
Any artificial-created living conditions, such as heat and light, are the biggest energy expenditure within the home. Using modern, energy-efficient glazing can, most definitely, reduce heating bills while the more natural light that can be allowed into a room means less artificial light during daylight hours – an immediate saving as well as being, for most people, the preferred choice.
Once a bold statement for architects and designers, the increased use of glass for rooflights, doors and larger windows is becoming increasingly common. Developers should consider how they can best utilise products that allow properties to let in as much natural light as possible.