Daylighting : The Smart Healthy Alternative

By: Smart Zero Home
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Natural daylight should be used as an alternative and a supplement to electrical lights, whenever and wherever possible. It is also a healthier option that saves your lighting electricity bills. You can use window shades and other strategies to cut off the direct sun and its glare, while still getting diffused sun light (daylight) in the space. Daylight's intensity suffices for most spaces and usage in the day and can be suitable alternative for most ambient lights, except task lighting (desk lamps).

The following strategies are useful in ensuring adequate daylighting in your home:

1) House & Window Orientation:  Your house and windows' orientation would help in identifying the windows most suitable for infusing daylighting, and for choosing the best strategy for tapping into the light source. Sun's movement during the day, shapes the treatment of various windows for daylighting.

North (facing) windows do not get direct sun, and automatically allow diffused natural light without glare. West windows get the maximum solar radiation in the afternoons, and need to be adequately shaded - with blinds and shades to cut out the direct sun and the associated glare and heat, or by the right choice of window glass (low SHGC and low e). South windows are usually a good option (second to North windows) for daylighting, but need to be adequately shaded in summers. East windows are good for daylighting in the later half of the day, but should be shaded in the morning.

Sun's movement during the day, from east to west via south shapes the treatment of various windows according to their orientation. North and South facing windows are the best for daylighting

2) Window Size & Distribution: An even window distribution in the space ensures evenly distributed natural light across the space. A larger window size would allow for the daylight to penetrate deeper into the space, and for adequate illumination levels in corners and edges on the opposite side of the window within the space.

3) Light Reflectors:  Light reflectors such as baffles, louvres and light shelves, help cut out the direct sun and the associated glare and bounce/reflect the diffused light deeper into the space.


The following video from the US Department of Energy discusses Daylighting (mainly offices but applicable to homes as well):


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