From significantly lower energy bills to improvements in health and productivity, switching from artificial lighting – such as the fluorescent lights used in many 20th century office buildings – to natural lighting has numerous benefits.
Many businesses are resistant to changing their lighting systems not because of the cost of doing so, but because of a perceived lack of benefits. What good could a new lighting system really do for your business?
As it turns out, quite a lot. Changing to natural light improves productivity, results in fewer sick days due to better employee health and has the potential to reduce your business’s monthly energy costs by a significant amount.
Need more reasons to switch to natural lighting? Read on to discover five of the top benefits of switching off your workplace’s artificial lights and using natural light to keep your office running.
Improved employee health
Have you ever heard of sick building syndrome? Health professionals have started to discover that buildings with poor natural lighting – typically office buildings that were constructed during the late 20th century – can lead to negative health effects.
Sick building syndrome involves a variety of symptoms, from low levels of energy to depression and lack of motivation. It’s particularly common in older buildings with a minimal amount of natural light and fresh air.
Buildings that depend on natural light tend to promote higher degrees of health and wellbeing, leading to fewer sick days. Switching to natural lighting could stop your building from becoming a “sick building” and help employees stay healthy.
Better energy, especially in the afternoon
Research shows that natural light makes people more alert, energetic and aware for a longer period than artificial lighting. People that work in naturally lit buildings are less likely to feel tired late in the workday than their peers.
This is because natural light plays an important role in the body’s circadian rhythm system – an internal system that tells your body when it should feel tired, and when it should feel alert and energetic.
Exposure to natural light during the morning and towards midday is one of the most important elements of remaining alert and awake during the afternoon, making it an incredible benefit for any business.
Lower monthly energy bills
Do you know how much energy your building’s artificial lighting system uses every day? Many businesses spend as much as 30% of their total energy bill on lighting – a significant amount that can easily be reduced with some small changes.
Since daylighting systems depend on the sun for light, they cost nothing to operate in comparison with an artificial lighting system. They also produce healthier light – light that has a wide range of health and performance benefits.
Although there are some initial costs involved in switching to natural light, they’re insignificant when compared with the huge long-term savings that are possible on your energy bill from using natural lighting.
Increased workplace productivity
Natural lighting produces a measurable increase in productivity, not just in offices and workplace settings, but in schools, universities and any environment in which focus and hard work are important.
This occurs for several reasons. First, the alternative of artificial lighting interferes with the body’s circadian rhythm, making employees feel tired earlier than they’re supposed to and reducing their late-day productivity.
The second is that natural lighting creates a far more comfortable environment for workers, giving them the setting they need for optimal workplace output. Switch to natural lighting and your business won’t just save money; it will also work smarter.
Better moods and attitudes
Natural light doesn’t just improve productivity and give people significantly more energy in the workplace – it also makes them happier. Research shows that people who work in naturally lit environments have higher levels of job satisfaction.
One of the most important aspects of retaining employees is ensuring that they’re happy in their positions. Using natural light is an excellent way to increase your office’s level of happiness and encourage employees to stay and excel.
Happiness also contributes to productivity and output. Create a comfortable, happy and healthy environment and your team is more likely to achieve its goals and work to a high standard.