Indoor workplaces should utilise natural light, researchers say

Thursday, 25 April, 2019

Indoor workplaces should utilise natural light, researchers say

While there are many different lighting controls and colours available that aim to optimise the wellbeing and productivity of workers, Griffith University researchers suggest simple, natural light is still the best solution.

Many workers suffer from visual discomfort caused by environments that are too bright, too dark or have too much glare.

“We are also reading more text and media than ever before, on more devices, scales and contrasting lighting levels,” said Zahra Hamedani, a PhD candidate from Griffith’s School of Engineering and Built Environment. “Visual discomfort is not only a recognised factor in fatigue, lower productivity and job satisfaction, but can also prompt lowering of window blinds in favour of electric lighting.”

Hamedani and a team of researchers found that opting for natural light instead of office lighting provided energy and cost savings, as well as health benefits for workers, such as supporting mood and sleep.

Indoor workplaces that utilise daylight and avoid glare could be particularly valuable in Australia, where there is a high proportion of annual sunny days.

Hamedani’s paper, published in Building and Environment, reviews existing research into light-induced physiological responses, including pupil size, eye movement, gaze direction, degree of eye-opening and blink rate. 

“The great value of this review paper is that it serves as a go-to reference point for research aimed at providing further objective indicator for assessing glare, and for innovative building designers and facility managers interested in live monitoring of visual discomfort so as to programming dynamic daylight control systems and shading strategies,” she said.

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