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Let There Be Light – Feb/Mar2015

Let There Be Light - Feb/Mar2015

Bright ideas for natural illumination

I’m a renovator. I’m definitely not a scientist or a mental health expert. However, there’s one thing that we can all agree on—when the sun is shining we tend to feel better. It’s clear that our environment plays a major role in our physical and emotional well-being.

SCIENCE LESSON 101

Synthesis from exposure to sunlight, as well as our dietary food intake, generally contributes to the maintenance of adequate vitamin D levels.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is often described as a type of depression that’s related to seasonal changes.

An ion is a molecule that has lost, or gained, an electron through various atmospheric forces or environmental influences. There are positive and negative ions but the names are misleading.

Positively charged ions have been proven to have a negative effect on our health, mood and energy levels. Office air-conditioning systems and fluorescent lights, as well as electrical and computer equipment, are all powerful, potentially harmful, positive ion generators.

Negatively charged ions have the opposite effect, and are in abundance in forests and near water. This is probably why we feel better when we’re in these natural environments.

Harsh, artificial lighting is a common complaint among office workers. There’s a reason that the corner office, with more windows, has long been a symbol of prestige. Natural light naturally improves our disposition, health and productivity.

THE HOME OFFICE DILEMMA

Millions of people throughout North America have an active home office. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or working for a progressive company that offers flexible working arrangements, your home office should be designed and tailored to suit your individual work patterns.

You want a room that is separate from personal spaces (especially the bedroom), with limited distractions. By integrating natural light into your workspace, not only will you save on utility bills, but you will also notice an enhanced frame of mind, reduced eyestrain, and a heightened level of efficiency.

LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE

If you’re considering repurposing an unused space (perhaps an attic) you’ll want to add natural light. In small rooms, you don’t want to lose valuable wall space, so skylights are one of the clearest, most effective solutions.

Skylights provide up to twice as much natural light as vertical windows and three times as much as dormer windows. They also promote privacy and improve ventilation in stuffy areas.

Previous incarnations of skylights didn’t have the best reputation as it related to condensation and leaking. Those concerns have long been eliminated. Deck- and curb-mounted skylights, with three layers of water protection, are available through velux.ca.

Skylights are the answer for many tricky situations. Some models are solar powered and come with an integrated rain sensor that closes the skylight during inclement weather. A sun-tunnel skylight could brighten up a windowless bathroom, and Velux also carries blinds for light control and heat reduction.

Consider adding skylights in the roof of a porch, especially if you find interior rooms are shaded due to the overhang.

Now that you’ve graduated from Science 101, one of the best lessons you can take away is that skylights will illuminate your home for a happy and healthy environment.