For many of us, feeling the sun on our face is one of life’s simplest pleasures. But just how important is natural light to our health and productivity?
Very important; or so it appears. Increasingly, there is sound science behind the positive power of natural light.
And these days, there is also sophisticated technology behind the windows and skylights that let that sunshine into our homes and offices.
Good Health and Good Design
Do you get the blues in the winter? Maybe you need more sunlight.
It’s been reported that as many as 1 in 6 people might be affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). New research from the University of Copenhagen discovered that sufferers of SAD tended to have higher levels of a transporter protein that lowered the activity of serotonin – a brain chemical that plays a key role in mood regulation. Sunlight naturally boosts your levels of serotonin, the study authors say.
Then there’s a study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that reveals office workers with more light exposure at the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity, and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace.
“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day – particularly in the morning – is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism,” said senior study author Phyllis Zee, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep specialist.
The report goes on to say that architects should be aware of the importance of natural light, not only in terms of their potential energy savings but also in terms of affecting occupants’ health.
“Daylight, Fresh Air, and Quality of Life”
The importance of natural light in architecture and our daily lives is something that VELUX Group has been extolling for decades. Founded on a vision of, “daylight, fresh air, and quality of life,” VELUX has made quality roof windows and skylight systems for more than 70 years. And today, VELUX windows are found in millions of homes and offices around the world.
“For VELUX, innovation is extremely important,” says Anders Reinhardt, head of global business intelligence at VELUX. “We try to be innovative around a few very simple core concepts about bringing more daylight into houses because we know it’s good for you to get fresh air and daylight.”
You can readily see innovative technology in the company’s products. Some windows, for example, employ special coatings designed to help manage interior light and heat levels by controlling ultraviolet and infrared light waves. Others are engineered to withstand specific conditions – like heavy snow loads.
Perhaps most impressive is VELUX’s remote control technology. Programmable skylights open at preset times to allow in fresh air, while integrated blinds roll up to help wake you in the morning with natural light. There is even a detection system that can sense rain drops and close the window automatically.
Innovation in the Business Office
Innovation is important in VELUX’s global business offices too.
For example, VELUX uses some of the latest information technology like business intelligence powered by the SAP HANA platform to accelerate reporting and to help make self-serve analytics available to virtually anyone in VELUX that has a PC.
The company is also moving more and more into the world of predictive analytics to do things like help it take a closer look at warranty costs. VELUX’s high-quality products are built to deliver years of worry-free enjoyment. In fact, VELUX guarantees it. But the long-term warranties protecting many of VELUX’s products require substantial provisions to account for the financial liability. VELUX expects to reduce the amount of cash held as provisions and improve the company’s liquidity by gaining a more in-depth understanding of reliability across its product lines.
“To drive our business forward without information, without analytics, would just not be possible today,” notes Reinhardt.
Now, many homeowners probably don’t care much about warranty provisioning. But most of us do appreciate the value of a really good window and plenty of natural daylight – especially during these short winter days!
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