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The Importance of Natural Light in Architecture

Architecture design is an art and science, engineering, and a lot of mathematics. There are several ways to make a great Architecture design. One way is using light as an important element in the design. Natural light is good not only for the architecture, but also for the people who live in it. Natural light helps them to be energized and it also makes the place seem friendlier. This is why creating buildings with good natural lighting is very important.

Natural light is undoubtedly the most important element in architecture. Besides its direct environmental benefits and its aesthetic value, it plays an important role in the wellbeing and happiness of people – and, consequently, the building itself. First of all, natural light provides good-quality light, which can be used to improve working conditions inside or as an option for visual access to outside spaces. It’s also responsible for the creation of daylight, which generates other ecological benefits not only by lowering the amount of artificial lighting within buildings, but also by helping cities to become more attractive.

Benefits of the Use of Natural Light Inside Buildings.

Natural light not only directly affects the environment, but also indirectly thanks to its role as a primary source of light for the interior of a building. Although the efficiency of artificial lighting is constantly improving, natural lighting provides a considerable amount of light with a very homogeneous quality. This direct connection with natural daylight makes it a very viable source of light for interior spaces.

In addition to being a positive asset for our environment, natural light also brings a whole range of additional benefits to architectural projects:

  • It’s easier to make the spaces and volumes function optimally, so users can better interact with them.
  • It creates good conditions for working, reading, or learning.
  • It creates attractive, more homogenised and coherent interior spaces.
  • It creates opportunities for social interaction in communal spaces.
  • It makes use of sunlight in the different areas of a building possible, and therefore it reduces the need for artificial lighting.

Natural light also has an incredible impact on the behaviour of users and can make them feel calmer, happier, more comfortable and less stressed, increasing the wellbeing of all the people inside. It’s just one more reason to use natural light in the design of both interior and exterior buildings. And the results are amazing: light rooms can even reduce our need for artificial lighting, as they make use of the natural light, thus cutting energy consumption by at least 50%.

The Importance of Natural Light.

Natural light is the most important source of light within any building. Its benefits go beyond the aesthetic ones: it provides users and occupants with greater health, safety, efficiency, and comfort, thus leading to happier and more productive people, spaces, and buildings.

Lighting Systems in Architecture.

To be able to use natural light as a source of light, it is necessary to make use of an adequate lighting system. Natural lighting is one of the most varied and effective of all systems, and in order to design a lighting system for natural lighting, architects must consider the following main factors:

Light distribution: to be able to use natural light, it is necessary to have an optimal distribution of light. This optimality is determined by:

  • Number.
  • Distribution.
  • Size and shape of light sources.
  • Position of light sources

Natural light affects a range of different elements of a building, including surfaces, and even people’s comfort, health, and habits. When the building is located in areas prone to intense sunlight (for example, in the centre of a city or in a valley), we must take this into account when designing the lighting system. However, natural lighting is always an important factor that should be considered.

Why Natural Light Saves Energy.

When we talk about the relationship between the environment and natural light, it’s not only the quantity of light that matters, but also its quality (natural light has a higher colour temperature than artificial lighting). In addition, it’s known that natural light has many other positive effects. The reasons for this are many, but the main ones are:

  • It creates daylight, especially in buildings with a short height to étage, which is used both directly to gain access to the outside and to improve the natural ventilation of a building.
  • It reduces heating and lighting costs as a result of more natural light being used.
  • It reduces the need for artificial lighting as a result of good light.
  • Light can be used, through the use of different architectural treatments, to improve the environment on various levels:
  • It can be used as a visual element for security, protection, and access to the outside.
  • It can be used to reduce noise.
  • It can be used to improve our mood as well as our emotions.

Natural lighting also adds aesthetic elements to the environment, such as the aesthetic of a building, its silhouette, and even its silhouette. Thanks to the natural elements surrounding spaces and the sun, and to the use of the colours of nature, architectural elements acquire a stronger presence.

What is Good and Bad Light.

A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that natural day– night conditions (light with a temperature of about 5100K, comparable to the light that comes from the sun during day time) have a positive effect on human health. The presence of natural light increases the secretion of melatonin during the day (it’s our body’s natural hormone that regulates our sleep cycles, and it’s often called “darkness “ hormone). Melatonin is responsible for calming us down, helping us to sleep, and keeping us healthy. People living in sunny areas have a lower occurrence of sleep disorders and depression and also have a lower risk of obesity.

According to the NREL study, these conditions help you sleep better, help treat depression, and promote a healthy lifestyle. In general, people who live in regions with more natural day– night conditions have healthier habits and, as a result, live longer and in better conditions. The presence of the sun is also beneficial for plants, which are able to absorb and metabolise more sunlight, which means the plants grow better.

What is bad light? Artificial lighting, or light at an unrealistically high temperature. In contrast to natural light, artificial lighting is less uniform. It doesn’t have a consistent colour; it isn’t constant because it lacks regularity as a result of artificial light being produced using artificial light, which has a specific and constant power, and artificial lighting is more intense. High-intensity light can affect people’s health, including damaging their eyes, because it is highly concentrated and does not have an even distribution. In addition, it requires a high concentration of energy to produce artificial lighting and the heat it produces can also damage the interior: this is a significant source of energy consumption in artificial lighting.

How You Use Natural Light.

Natural light isn’t constant (it’s more intense and more prevalent during day time, and it’s less intense and less prevalent at night). To have natural light inside a building, it’s necessary to manage the light coming from the outdoors and make sure that we use it.

It’s better to use natural light in the early morning when the Sun is rising and it creates good light, which can be used effectively to enhance the lighting and increase the space’s brightness. However, natural light is not constant – it can’t be predicted and it’s difficult to have the same amount of natural light in a space at different times of the day, even if the outside space is the same. Therefore, the use of natural light requires a careful planning of the lighting, taking into account the time of day, the time of year, the period in which the building will be used (the building can be used for all the time, but it’s better to predict the period in which there will be more light within it), and the use of artificial lighting inside.

A Visual Example of Natural Light.

In architecture, one of the most important aspects is the sense of space and, for this reason, the distribution of natural light in a building is extremely important. To highlight this, the NREL study points out that natural light not only influences people, but also has a positive impact on the building, creating a comfortable and homogeneous atmosphere from the inside out.

When we see the natural light at night, the colour of a building becomes the colour of the evening. It creates the ambience felt in a space, whether we live in the suburbs or in the city. There are different factors to consider, like the architectural treatment (colour, height of walls, and the proportion of the different windows) and the use of colours (for example, to create a connection with nature and the outdoor, or to highlight the use of artificial lighting).

On the other hand, natural light has a great impact on interior spaces, especially because there are so many different colours in it, which are distributed on the walls, the floor, the ceilings, and other parts of the buildings interior.

It can be used to enrich interior spaces, as the light penetrates everywhere and its distribution is so even and homogenised that surfaces that would not be illuminated by daylight can be lit by it. The use of natural light is an effective option to bring light into indoor spaces. The natural light’s intensity in a space isn’t the same for all of the time of the day and at night; but at night, it plays an important role in the lighting of interior spaces.

How Light Affects Human Behaviour.

There are many differences between natural light and artificial light. Natural light comes from the direct rays of the sun, and it’s homogenised. Artificial light is created with a lamp, which causes the light’s rays to go through the lamp (which means that the light is not homogenised and there isn’t the same homogenised colour). In addition, natural light has a lower colour temperature. The colours of natural light are much more consistent than those of artificial light.

What is the Impact of Natural Light on Interior Space.

When we talk of natural light, it’s not just about its colour and brightness, but it’s also important the homogeneised distribution of light. There are natural patterns and colours, such as clouds or sun beams. They aren’t predicted and they can’t be managed. Natural light has its own rhythms and it produces shadows. When artificial light is used, shadows are caused by artificial light sources (often, these are the ceiling lights’ bulbs). This feature creates an effect that isn’t found in nature, which, above all, has direct effects on our mood. This is an example of the importance of natural light.

As you can see, natural light is one of the most important elements in architecture. It’s a source of daylight, and its light causes many good things in our lifestyle and our wellbeing. When artificial lighting is used in buildings, the light we get and its distribution are always inconsistent. In addition, artificial light has lower colour temperature than natural light, therefore, it causes shadows and lacks homogeneity in terms of colour.

In order to take advantage of its benefits, it’s necessary to create healthy and comfortable spaces within a building. Natural lighting is the best option to do this since it creates good moods, a safe environment, high levels of activity, good productivity, and positive feelings. As we can see, natural light affects humans in a positive way by means of its benefits.

Anand Kumar
Anand Kumar

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