As we emerge from what seems like an endless winter into the intermittent sunlight of spring, we all feel our mood shifting slightly. We can wander outdoors without the need for thermals, fleeces and overcoats and we can, if we are very lucky, feel the warm sun on our face.
But once many of us get home we still have to put the lights on to be able to work, read the newspaper or cook dinner. Britain’s homes are notorious for a lack of light and the newer the property the less likely that you are to live in a property where full daylight is something that you can enjoy. Building Regulations have increasingly made emissions from the heat and light in our homes an issue, so house builders have usually gone for the cheap and simple option of making windows smaller and smaller to make new homes meet these standards. But what is our window size doing to our health and what can we do about it?
Well, we can at least be sure that our tiny windows are at least not depriving us of vitamins. Windows filter around 97% of the UV rays that stimulate our bodies to produce Vitamin D, so you will need to go outside to reap the benefits, even if you have floor-to-ceiling glazing.
But there is some evidence that this lack of daylight can influence your mood, with those who suffer from seasonally affected depression (known as SAD) especially at risk in houses that lack good natural lighting all year round.
Special daylight lamps are a possible solution for those affected by SAD and those of us who want to experience summer indoors all year round. But there are other practical solutions to consider that could radically improve your enjoyment of your home.
Having larger windows installed is an obvious way to let more light in, but your new glazing will still need to comply with Building Regulations and may need planning permission. An experienced window fitter will be able to explain how larger windows or even a skylight can help and even add more value to your home than the cost of the work.
Image source: Apartment Therapy
Another radical solution to gain more light may be to turn your house upside down. This does not necessitate flipping your house over, but instead means moving your bedrooms downstairs and your living space upstairs. This means that you benefit more from daytime sunlight and, after all, who needs light when they are asleep? Some go as far as moving kitchens upstairs and bathrooms downstairs, but this would involve a major refit.
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Those looking to move to a house with more natural light should seek out 1930s homes, which often have a lot of large windows (though beware those that need expensive re-glazing). But there are some modern developers and designers that are bucking the trend of smaller windows and instead harnessing the power of the sun on windows to warm properties and reduce both heating bills and emissions. The BedZed development in southwest London is one such example, with the south facing windows taking up most of the wall space in the environment-friendly project.
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