Architect Merijn Bink from Dutch Daylight spoke at the Active House Symposium 2022 on the importance of daylight and how it is linked to a healthy indoor climate.
Daylight is essential for humans; why is daylight also important for houses?
People originally used to live mainly outdoors. We were directly connected to the outdoor environment for thousands of years. Since the Industrial Revolution, the advent of artificial light and a 24/7 society, we are becoming indoor people. This shift can no longer be adjusted to current requirements and criteria.
From this point of view, the living conditions created in this indoor environment should be based on people’s needs. Our houses provide us with shelter, relaxation and recreation. Even more so, they form the basis for our general health. Enough daylight, knowledge of its potential and an understanding of its effects can make an active contribution to creating an environment that stimulates the well-being, comfort and health of its inhabitants.
Why is daylight not taken into account as standard when designing a building or house?
The approach to daylight is unfortunately often based on legislation and/or rules and regulations that determine the minimum requirements. This poses challenges when combined with cost- and sustainability-driven development. The implementation of the advantages of daylight for the user requires knowledge, experience and drive for the best possible design.
The power of daylight is addressed more and more frequently within healthcare, learning and working environments. ‘Standard’ housing construction is lagging behind. Standardisation, cost-effectiveness and increasing knowledge among stakeholders are areas for improvement.
Can you provide us with a textbook case of a renovation project that has made good use of daylight?
I don’t think we should be using a specific example as the basis for the best use of daylight in renovation projects. A textbook case can often be seen as a guideline, then it can become a benchmark for all renovation projects. The immediate issue is to ensure a living and working environment stimulate the well-being, health and comfort of its users.
Daylight is a major factor and its potential should be taken into consideration. Every project is different, in terms of context, residents, needs and environment. Renovation projects includes a large-scale challenge, to ensure the future contributes to the user’s environment. Combining theory, science, practice and knowledge from all areas of expertise is of the essence.
Copyright Photo – Buro Leeflicht – Merijn bink.