What Is Biophilia & How Are Daylighting Systems Related?
By Torrin Greathouse | September 03, 2015
One of the newest buzzwords emerging in the sustainability industry is biophilic design. While this term is initially hard to understand, studying biophilia could have resounding effects on the way we think about building design, interior spaces, and daylighting systems.
What is Biophilia?
Originally termed by Harvard University conservationist E.O. Wilson, biophilia is the idea that humans are genetically hard-wired to require a connection to nature. More and more evidence emerges every day to support this hypothesis. Maintaining a connection to nature in your everyday life can reduce stress, improve mental performance, speed up medical recovery, and even aid in moderating conditions such as ADHD. Good biophilic design involves bringing natural elements such as water, plants, fresh air, and natural sunlight into your building.
How is Daylighting Related?
Sunlight is a fundamental element of biophilic design, helping indoor spaces to mimic the outdoors. While daylighting systems often receive a bad reputation, many of the supposed issues these systems face are myths. Daylighting systems are the most efficient way to bring natural sunlight into a building. This is important for biophilic design because human brains are attuned to patterns that occur in nature. Not only is the broad spectrum light our bodies naturally seek beneficial to our health, but the fluctuations in light due to clouds and the movement of the sun throughout the day help maintain good circadian rhythms in building occupants. Abundant natural lighting is also important to supporting the indoor green spaces required for effective biophilic design.
What Benefits do Daylighting and Biophilic Design Offer?
Alongside other biophilic building features, daylighting systems offer a wide range of unexpected benefits. Not only do they offer similar health benefits to other natural elements, regulating sleep schedules, boosting immune systems, and reducing stress, but also offer economic incentives. Daylighting is proven to increase workplace productivity, which can have an astounding effect on your bottom line. Well implemented modern skylights can also minimize heat gain and loss, helping to lower your building’s HVAC costs.
Ciralight produces a solar tracking daylighting system, the SunTracker. These skylights utilize solar and GPS technology to trace the sun across the sky, reflecting its light into your building for up to 10.5 hours per day—more than any other system on the market.