Daylighting helps homeowners maximize the natural light penetrating their windows, thereby decreasing their dependence on electricity and facilitating a healthy, rejuvenating environment. The planning process of daylighting involves understanding the different types of daylight, the orientation of the sun in relation to the windows and various tactics and products designed to help increase natural light. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends using daylighting when planning a new home build, and using daylighting philosophies to increase energy efficiency in your home.
Types of Daylight
Two types of light enter a home: direct sunlight and ambient light. Direct sunlight is bright, hot, glaring and casts shadows. Ambient light is reflected direct sunlight. It bounces off a surface such as a wall or a door and reflects into the room, producing a glow. Daylighting is the process of turning direct sunlight into ambient light to fully illuminate a room.
What Direction do Your Windows Face?
View the plot of your home’s building plan or a directional device such as a compass to determine the direction your windows and doors face. Windows that face north and south receive a high level of ambience, but windows facing east and west receive the most direct sunlight, which can produce a significant glare in both the morning and evening. Morning sunlight is bright, but the setting sunlight is the strongest, making the light infiltration from west-facing windows the most important to control.
Products and Tactics to Maximize Light
The amount of light desired in any particular room is a personal preference. Some rooms may require limited daylighting due to the potential for solar heat gain, while others may need significant assistance in increasing natural light due to the positioning of the building as it relates to the sun’s movement throughout the day.
Window treatments are the first step for homeowners looking for more control over light infiltration. The primary way to transform direct sunlight into ambient light is to spread sheer curtains over a window to cut the glare. Blinds are also a useful option. They can be closed when blocking energy transfer is the priority, and they can be opened and tilted either up or down to increase the ambient light in a room.
Homeowners can also make decorative decisions which affect light filtration. Furniture placement in front of windows can reflect incoming direct sunlight. On the other hand, it can also create unwanted shadows. Experiment with the orientation of bulky furniture pieces to test which position allows the most light to enter the room. Hang mirrors in dark hallways and bathrooms, as glass reflects ambient light well.
When choosing paint color for a room, check the label for the light reflectivity value (LRV). The gauge ranges from zero to 100, 100 reflecting the most possible light. Opt for paints with high LRV in closed, dark spaces, where reflectivity is the best option for increasing the room’s ambience.
Contact Utah Blinds Gallery to learn more about daylighting and how to find window treatment products to assist this approach, which can decrease electricity usage and brighten home living spaces and interior comfort and appeal.