August 16, 2022
What are skylights?
Skylights are a popular architectural feature that can be used to add a sense of light and space to a building, particularly in rooms that may otherwise appear dark or cramped. A skylight is quite simply a window that is located on the roof, with this unique positioning allowing it to let in as much as three times as much natural light as a normal window.
What are the general benefits of skylights?
The main benefit of skylights is their ability to allow natural light into a room, reducing the need for artificial lighting and improving the ambience of your space. However, the light and heat they provide can also offer significant economic benefits, saving you money on your heating and lighting bills. An openable skylight (called a sky window or a roof window) also has the added benefit of providing very effective ventilation, and can also be used as an energy-efficient way to cool spaces in summer, reducing the need for air conditioning and creating further savings on your energy bills.
What are the benefits of skylights in commercial buildings?
If you’re considering installing a skylight in a commercial building, it’s worth knowing that as well as all the standard benefits (including improved light and ambience, reduced energy bills and – in the case of openable skylights – great ventilation), skylights can offer some unique advantages in a commercial context. Some of the key benefits of installing a skylight in a commercial building include increased productivity, improving employee health, reducing stress, increasing the value of the building, environmental benefits and additional savings.
There is ample scientific evidence that shows that natural light improves productivity in work environments, with some studies finding an increase in productivity of up to 40% in workplaces where workers are exposed to adequate sunlight. Receiving adequate sunlight during the day has a very significant effect on sleep, as natural light is required to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and the release of melatonin. In fact, studies have found that employees working in offices with windows slept for longer and had higher quality of sleep than those working in spaces without windows. It’s little wonder then that employees that have better sleep and more alertness during the day are much more productive in the workplace.
While improved sleep undoubtedly has a positive effect on overall health, skylights can further boost health in the workplace by ensuring employees receive adequate vitamin D. While vitamin D is present in small quantities in some foods, the main way that people get vitamin D is through safe sun exposure. Sky windows can help boost vitamin D levels, which can, in turn, strengthen the immune system, regulate mood and even support healthy weight management. These health improvements can also have a positive effect on workplace productivity and profitability as one study found that those working in offices without windows (and hence exposed to less sunlight) had 6.5% more sick days.
Sunlight has been shown to reduce stress, helping employees feel calmer and more alert by increasing the amount of serotonin (a happy hormone) released by the brain. Conversely, a lack of sunlight can lead to mental health disorders such as depression, particularly during the winter when seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is common.
Increased Building Value
Not only can skylights save you money in the short term, they are also a sound long-term investment because they can boost the value of your property. Skylights can make any building appear lighter and airier, creating an illusion of more space that can instantly increase the appeal of your commercial property. A couple of well-placed skylights can make the difference between a building feeling dark and unappealing or warm and welcoming and give your sale price a real boost.
While residential skylights are known for reducing homeowners’ lighting bills, this saving is dramatically increased in commercial settings where the cost of artificial lighting can be substantial. And the savings aren’t limited to just the electricity bills. In a commercial setting, the cost of the lights and bulbs themselves (which need replacing periodically), as well as the cost of repairing electrical issues, can add up to a significant sum. Skylights offer free lighting that never malfunctions or needs replacing, delivering long-term economic benefits to your workplace.
As every commercial business owner will know, reducing the environmental footprint of your workplace is an important aim for both reputational and ethical reasons. Skylights massively reduce a workplace’s reliance on artificial lighting, effectively reducing electricity consumption and hence environmental impact.
Skylights offer a multitude of benefits to commercial buildings, from practical economic benefits like reduced lighting bills, to less obvious but possibly much more valuable benefits like boosting employee health, wellbeing and productivity. If you’re considering installing a skylight in your commercial building, contact Natural Lighting Products for a free quote today.