Sustainability with Health in Mind

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  • Title: Sustainability with Health in Mind: A Case for Daylighting
  • Author(s): Nastaran Shishegar, Mohamed Boubekri
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Constructed Environment
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Constructed Environment
  • Keywords: Daylighting, Energy Savings, Health, Wellbeing, Circadian Rhythm, Sleep Disorder, Vitamin D
  • Volume: 8 (2016)
  • Issue: 2
  • ISSN: 2154-8587 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8595 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8587/CGP/v08i02/1-13
  • Citation: Boubekri, Mohamed, and Nastaran Shishegar. 2016. "Sustainability with Health in Mind: A Case for Daylighting." The International Journal of the Constructed Environment 8 (2): 1-13. doi:10.18848/2154-8587/CGP/v08i02/1-13.

Abstract

Historically, the use of daylighting has been justified primarily on the basis of the energy-saving proposition. However, in practice, this argument has not had the anticipated impact. The majority of today’s buildings continue to rely mostly on electric lighting rather than adopting active daylighting solutions. Designers and building developers have the tendency to favor technological advances in lighting fixture efficiency rather than using daylight as a means of illumination. This paper attempts to provide strong justifications for a paradigm shift in the way we think about daylighting in architecture. This proposed argument is based on health rather than energy efficiency. Light in general, and daylight in particular, is vital to our lives. Light has a particularly strong influence on many aspects of human health. These health aspects are discussed in this paper in terms of light impacting circadian rhythm and sunlight producing vitamin D through our skin. By way of their shapes and their fenestration, buildings play a significant role in controlling how much daylight people are exposed to inside their homes and their workplaces. As a consequence, building design could have a significant effect on human health. We contend that building daylighting should be addressed in terms of energy saving as well as in terms of building occupants’ health and wellbeing.