Light, although it has a decisive effect on everything that is happening on earth, is not noticeable as long as there is not too much or too little of it. The colour of light decides how we perceive the surrounding world, how we feel in it. Its intensity and direction can change the character of the room and of the entire building. The greatest architects give light the role of the main factor influencing our senses. When designing a house, it is worth remembering that the functions of the building should be aligned with the cardinal directions so that light could co-create the indoor atmosphere and good working conditions.
Natural daylight is solar radiation which reaches the earth from the sun. Light consists of ultraviolet radiation (UV – 3%), infrared radiation (IR – 55%), and visible light (42%). Our perception of light relates only to electromagnetic radiation between 0.38 and 0.78 µm. When light reaches a window pane, it is partially reflected, absorbed by the glass, and a part of it is transmitted inside. It will never happen that the same amount of light that reaches the window is transmitted inside.
It needs to be borne in mind that elements of the outside world, such as trees, buildings, etc. are able to reduce a considerable part of the light which reaches the windows. For example, a 10-metre-tall obstacle located in the distance of 15 m from the elevation can reduce the amount of natural light even by 50%. We measure light intensity in lux. Light intensity outside a building on a cloudy day is 5000 lux and such light intensity will allow to provide building interiors with 500 lux of light, but only in the vicinity of the window opening. Further inside the room it will be only 50 lux. In Building Glass Polska we use the DIAL plus software to calculate exact values of light intensity. It enables to determine the distribution of light intensity in the room, taking into account all variables that have their impact on it.
It is advisable to illuminate the kitchen, the dining room, the living room with natural daylight as we spend 80% of our time at home in these spaces. Each room, especially children’s bedrooms, should be illuminated with an appropriate amount of light, not only for health-related reasons, as described in the chapter related to health, but also for purely practical reasons. Quite naturally people will be more willing to use spaces with more light. It pays off to secure two-sided illumination of rooms as any drop in light intensity in the room is less noticeable and the sun directly illuminates rooms much longer. It needs to be remembered that roofs, balconies reduce access of natural daylight to interiors of buildings. The simplest method of dealing with losses of natural daylight in rooms is improvement of light transmittance through windows, improvement of TI. The best solution is the application of ECLAZ glass in the production of glazing units as it offers the best share of light that reaches building interiors.
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