As the third planet from the sun, the Earth is perfectly positioned to support life and enjoy all its benefits for free. With new solar technologies emerging more and more, the focus has been on finding more ways to utilize the sun's power.
As experts at bringing natural light into Canadian homes, Ecoline Windows understands its benefits and gives the top 5 reasons why increasing it is a good idea:
1. Improved Health
The majority of Canadians spend more time inside than outside and the lack of adequate sunshine has slowly been compromising our health. To counteract that, increasing the amount of natural light has been proven to help homeowners gain more energy, improve the immune system, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, clear up skin disorders, increase Vitamin D, and even get more sleep.
2. Better Mood
Most of us have experienced that feeling of sadness, dread, and even hopelessness when summer ends and the days get shorter. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) stems from reduced exposure to sunlight and less melatonin production. This can lead to mood changes and even depression. By increasing the amount of natural light inside your home, you can counteract this cycle. It can trigger the release of a hormone called serotonin and improve your overall mood.
3. Lower Utility Bills
The principles of "daylighting" to bring more sunlight into your home can significantly reduce your hydro, heating, and cooling bills. Sizes and locations of energy-efficient windows and skylights can reduce the need for artificial light, furnace, and air conditioning—saving you a ton of money.
4. More Comfortable Home
Did you ever notice how quickly a room warms up on a sunny day? Even on the coldest days of winter, bringing in more natural light will give your home a soft glow and turn every room into an inviting, comfortable space either it’s your bedroom or kids’ reading nook.
5. Rooms Will Look Larger
Natural sunlight reflects off all the components in your room, making colours appear more vibrant and the space seem bigger. For an optimum effect, you should choose light, soft shades of off-white, green, and blue as these colours are more reflective than darker shades that will absorb light.
So how can you take advantage of these natural benefits and increase your home's natural light?
Add Windows or Increase Size
The more windows in your home, the more sunlight can shine through. South-facing windows will provide the best source of natural light throughout the day. You'll achieve the maximum warming benefit during winter months and little direct light in the summer to keep your room comfortable. This will provide a more passive solar design and take advantage of free energy.
Adding skylights or solar tubes are also beneficial to bringing in more natural light when you don't have south-facing windows. Skylights can be installed in areas where there is no room above and solar tubes are a great option to brighten rooms without direct roof access.
Consider changing your front door to include decorative glass, sidelites, and even a transom window above. French doors at the entrance to a den or sun room will also help open up the floor plan while allowing natural light to penetrate every spot in your home.
Add Reflective Components
By incorporating as many reflective materials as possible to your home, you'll obtain maximum benefits from any natural light that comes in. You can do this with:
- Mirrors—decorative, framed mirrors can be used in every room. Hang a large one directly across from a window or another mirror to gain the best illumination.
- Light fixtures—metal frames or globes will bounce natural light from the ceiling down.
- Glass tiles—trendy glass tiles are being used in kitchen and bathroom backsplashes to improve aesthetics and enhance light in the room.
- Countertops—choose a glossy, light-coloured quartz countertop and watch the sunlight bounce around the room.
- Faucets—take advantage of the highly reflective properties chrome or nickel finishes provide.
- Cabinet hardware—match your faucets with shiny metal cabinet handles in pulls in your kitchen and bathrooms for even more "bounce."
- Flooring—like your countertops, add a highly polished marble floor for an elegant look and enhanced light reflection.
- Walls—light-coloured paint in a satin or semi-gloss finish or metallic wallpaper both provide the perfect palette for natural light.
- Ceiling—don't forget that every surface can help. Add trendy tin tiles to the ceiling for the ultimate "wow" factor and reflectiveness.
Knock Down Walls
If you've got an older home, your layout may be made up of separate rooms that are divided by walls and doors. If you're planning some remodeling, consider knocking down non-bearing walls or creating half-walls or pass-through areas. This will open up the plan and allow more natural light to pass easily across your entire home.
Inspect the Exterior
You'd be surprised at how much light is blocked from exterior elements. Now you should trim bushes and trees that are blocking windows and doors. Remove dead branches to allow light to pass through. Replace overgrown shrubbery with shorter greenery or move it to a new location away from windows and doors.
You should also remove any awnings that permanently shade the windows. New retractable styles can be adjusted to allow light in when they're not needed for outdoor activities.
It's a great idea to increase the natural light in your home. It can improve your health, encourage better moods, can lower utility bills, provide a more comfortable home, and can make your rooms look larger. Take full advantage of all these benefits by adding windows or increasing their size, adding more reflective components into each room, open up your floor plan by knocking down walls or adding pass-through areas, and clear away any exterior obstructions like trees, shrubs, or awnings.
Improve your wellbeing with a few easy steps and enjoy a long and happy life while you bask in all that natural sunlight.