The Basics of Daylighting: Why Is Natural Light a Better Choice?

Over the last two decades, a large number of businesses have invested in lighting systems that do away with the harsh artificial lighting of the past in favour of a far more natural alternative.

In many of today’s offices, retail stores, and industrial buildings, it’s natural light that’s leading the way. Gone are the large artificial lighting systems of yesteryear; replaced with sustainable, efficient, and effective daylighting systems.

If you’ve considered joining the incredible number of businesses opting for natural daylighting solutions but haven’t quite found the value in daylighting, read on for a simple summary of the incredible benefits of natural light for your business.

Natural light improves your business’s brand

Some of the United States’ largest companies are embracing natural light as a way to improve the experiences of their customers. Wal-Mart uses natural lighting in many of its large stores not just to reduce bills, but also to improve the mood of customers.

In fact, the multi-billion dollar retail chain found that incorporating natural lighting into its stores increased sales of certain products. Wal-Mart expanded on its natural lighting strategy in a piece in Business 2.0 in September 2005, noting that lighting its stores naturally produced a significant increase in overall sales.

The proof is in the results, and in this case, it’s clear that natural light beats artificial light not just in a working environment, but also in a buying one.

Natural light improves workplace productivity

Swiss researcher Mirjam Münch has spent decades researching the value of natural light for businesses. Her research indicates that as well as improving sales for many top retailers, natural light can improve productivity for large corporate offices.

This is largely due to an incredible dual benefit of natural light – its ability to make people more aware as well as less stressed. Workers based in environments lit by natural light, in Münch’s research, had lower cortisol levels and were more awake.

If you operate a business that depends on productive, hardworking staff, you might see a greater increase in productivity from a natural daylighting system that from a management consultant, financial incentive program, or new corporate motto.

Unlike artificial light, natural light is healthy

From vitamin D to cortisol, natural light plays an important role in regulating many of the hormones that control the human body. While exposure to artificial light has many negative health effects, normal exposure to daylight has positive effects.

Workers that spend their time in an environment lit using natural light are far less likely to become depressed, less likely to experience a loss of memory, and tend to take fewer sick days than their counterparts working under artificial lighting.

Scientists believe that this is due to our natural orientation to work in places that are lit naturally by the sun, rather than the artificial offices and factories that most workers now spend most of their day inside.

Daylighting significantly reduces lighting costs

Many of the benefits of natural light appeal to doctors and health gurus. Others may appeal purely to accountants and investors. As well as enhancing health and raising worker productivity, daylighting results in a proven decline in lighting costs.

Since lighting-related electrical expenses are one of the biggest expenses for many businesses, reducing them is a key priority. In certain cases, modern daylighting is capable of reducing lighting-related energy expenses by as much as 80 percent.

For the average American middle school, this means a ten-year saving of $500,000 or more that would otherwise have been spent on energy. The savings produced by daylighting are not insignificant, particularly for large buildings and businesses.

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