bright extension with velux roof windows

With many of us staying indoors for far longer than usual over the past two years, Brits are getting even less exposure to natural light. However, thanks to the innovative design of modern roof windows, you can still get a boost of sunlight, even if you’re forced to stay indoors. There are many physical and mental benefits to getting plenty of natural light. Adding daylight to your home can improve mood, productivity, your physical health, and help to save money on energy bills. This makes natural light a priority, especially for home workers.

Benefits of Natural Light

Physical Health Benefits

First, let’s take a look at the benefits that natural sunlight can have for your health.

Vitamin D is an incredibly important nutrient that is absorbed by the skin when exposed to sunlight. It aids the body in absorbing calcium which is vital for the healthy growth of your bones and helps the nerves, muscles, organs and immune system work properly. It can even reduce the risk of weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and various cancers.

Sunlight is also recognised as a fantastic natural healer. Sunlight can help to increase white and red blood cells plus the ultraviolet rays from the sun have even been proven as a natural antiseptic. 

Researchers also suspect that bright natural light can even help with vision. Dopamine is a known inhibitor of eye growth and when stimulated by natural light, prevents elongation of the eye. A lack of dopamine can result in a developing eye becoming more elongated, resulting in near-sightedness. Dim lighting or overly harsh fluorescent lighting also force the eyes to work much harder to see, which can lead to eyestrain and headaches.

Mental Health & Productivity

Feeling sluggish and sleepy after a terrible night’s sleep? Allowing in the natural daylight can be the perfect way to increase energy and help you focus, even with a tired brain. Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called ‘serotonin’ which not only gives you energy, but also helps you to stay calm, focused and in a more positive mindset. Perfect for tackling the Monday blues.

On the topic of sleep, natural daylight also plays a major role in something called the ‘Circadian Rhythm’. When exposed to natural light throughout the day, a person’s circadian rhythm can become synchronised with the sunrise and sunset, which allows them to stay awake during the day and sleep at night. The more natural light you are exposed to do throughout the day, the better your body can produce the sleep hormone ‘melatonin’ when it is time for bed.

As previously mentioned, natural daylight can help to significantly boost the mood-lifting chemical ‘serotonin’ which stabilises your mood, regulates feelings of happiness and can even help to combat feelings of anxiety and depression.

Research shows that natural sunlight also helps workers to think creatively and be more productive, with workplaces that allow sufficient daylight, bringing an uplift of between 5 and 40% in productivity and sales. This also applies to those working from home, so make sure to let the light in if working from the kitchen table is leaving you unmotivated.

Indoor Plants

Natural daylight is a main component to keeping your indoor plants alive and healthy. But what are the real benefits of doing so? Firstly, indoor plants are a great way of adding life to a home which in turn can boost mood, concentration, creativity and can even offer therapeutic benefits. They also help to clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen which in turn can reduce stress, fatigue, sore throats and colds.

Saving Energy

Letting natural daylight into your home is also a fantastic way to conserve energy, help out the environment and avoid unnecessary spending on lighting bills. Electrical lighting produces a lot of heat, whereas natural light generates hardly any in comparison, meaning that use of daylight can save up to 75% of the energy used for lighting buildings as well as cooling costs.

Keeping the light switch turned off is a great way of reducing your carbon footprint and reducing the level of harmful greenhouse gases in the environment. It helps to lessen the use of non-renewable resources that are very harmful to the environment.

How Roof Windows Can Add Natural Light

Thankfully, most modern houses are now designed to allow as much natural light into the home as possible. Roof windows have become extremely popular in property design thanks to their fantastic ability to flood a room with natural daylight. There are a variety of ways you can utilise windows to maximise the light flow into your home.

Positioning

Firstly, positioning of the windows is key. If you want to maximise the flow of sunlight, you must create a direct path for the sunlight to travel into the space. The general rule is that east-facing windows will provide bright daylight in the morning whilst west-facing windows bring in the golden hour lighting closer to evening. If you want to bring in natural light without a constant direct stream, then south-east or south-west facing windows are the best option.

Type of Window

There are a multitude of different roof windows to choose for your space, each including various features that can help to maximise natural light. For example, fixed flat roof windows are ideal for those who want to brighten up a space without the need for opening and closing. Top-hung windows are also fantastic, especially in a white finish, as lighter colours reflect the sunlight that comes through the window. These window types are available in manual and electric models, to let in a breath of fresh air.

A cabrio balcony window creates a modern and unique look as well as allowing huge amounts of natural sunlight in and offering scenic views, especially when placed on the top floor of a home.

Sizing

The more natural light you want to allow into the home, the bigger your roof window should be. Depending on the layout of the room, it may be practical to fit one very large window or alternatively bring in light from various angles with multiple smaller roof windows. You can manipulate the amount of sunlight coming from different angles with the size of the roof windows that you place in each area.

Glazing

Glazing is a key component that allows you to maximise natural daylight. The general rule for glazing is that the lighter the colour the better, if you want a bright and airy room. Dark colours such as greys, blacks, browns etc will create a dark filter over any daylight entering the room and make the space feel darker.

Solar Powered Windows

Solar powered roof windows work by converting sunlight that passes through small solar cells into renewable electricity. When positioned under direct sunlight, they not only supply a bright stream of natural light into the home but help to power the window itself, allowing non-manual opening and closing from a high-performance battery.

Ways to Maximise Light Within the Home

There are also ways you can alter the design of your home to maximise the spread of sunlight. These include:

  • Doors – Fitting glass doors can let in huge amounts of natural daylight, especially if there is limited wall/roof space for windows.
  • Cleaning – Keeping your glass windows and doors clean ensures that no dirt/dust blocks or filters the bright sunlight coming through.
  • Mirrors – Adding mirrors into the home is an affordable and effective way of making rooms appear lighter. Mirrors reflect the light from your windows and allow it to penetrate into every corner of the room. This can also make a space appear larger and more open.
  • Light Colour Scheme – Dark-coloured walls and fabrics will absorb the light that comes through so using light colours such as whites, yellows, light greys etc. can instantly brighten any space.
  • Furniture Placement – When large pieces of furniture are placed in front of windows/doors, the natural daylight can be blocked or filtered, again making the room appear darker. Keep the space in front of windows free and open to maximise the daylight coming through.
  • Outside Plant life – If your room is clear of obstacles but the natural light coming through is still dampened, there may be bushes, trees or large plants blocking the window from the outside.

Conclusion

Maximising sunlight in the home offers a variety of mental and physical health benefits that have a huge impact on our daily lives. It helps to create a refreshing and motivating environment for home workers so ensuring that daylight is not restricted extremely important.