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The Importance of Light and Ventilation In Our Buildings

The importance of light and ventilation on our health should not be underestimated and the way that roof glazing supports this can make a significant difference in how we achieve positive outcomes.


The Healthy Homes Barometer 2019 (a study by Rand for VELUX Europe) highlighted how dampness, darkness, noise and cold affected children – almost 2.5m of the 9m children in the UK reported living with leaking roofs, damp walls or rot in window frames and floors. Almost 1m reported living without enough daylight.


It is such alarming statistics that we, as professionals in the construction sector, should not only be aware of but should take all steps to eradicate wherever possible. And it’s not just at home where concerns are apparent.


Education, efficiency and energy


Whilst we may have little control over home environments of children it is entirely possible that we can help when they are in education or public buildings.


UK children spend around 190 days each year in education and, of those 190 days, around 70% of the time is spent in the classroom. Approximately 500,000 school days are lost through ill health which impacts on learning, increases absence in the workplace through caring for ill children and reduces UK productivity.


Certainly gives some food for thought doesn’t it?


If it is possible to improve the environments in which our children study (and live to some degree) then the statistics are extremely encouraging. Research carried out by Heschong Mahone showed that there can be up to a 21% increase in learning rates when children are sited in a well-lit classroom. Furthermore, there is an increase in speed when solving tasks, improved attention and concentration and a reduction in absence.


So, how does this affect rooflight specification and glazing you may ask?


In a world where energy efficiency is key, and the efficiency and health of our buildings is a hot topic in the construction sector, it is most important that all elements of glazing within a building, be that during a refurbishment project or a new build, are given appropriate consideration to ensure the benefits of natural daylight and solar energy are reaped wherever possible.


Elmhurst Energy carried out some research for National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers (NARM) and  Technical Document NTD10  and shows statistics that highlight just how important glazing and rooflights are across retail, industry and education. It’s fair to say that they should play an important part in the future of our buildings.



Re-writing history


Historically, rooflights have had some bad press and, even now, it is still evident that some specifiers are removing rooflights from building designs as a ‘quick’ fix to either deliver time or cost saving efficiencies. However, given the impact that poor lighting and poor ventilation can have on the health of our children and ourselves, it is clearly far from a quick fix; in fact it is not a fix at all and creates more problems than perhaps first realised.


So how have modern rooflights helped to rewrite history?


Gone are the days when rooflights leaked. You may already know but if you don’t, modern, correctly fitted rooflights don’t leak. Neither do they make a building too hot. Modern, correctly specified rooflights help to control indoor temperatures and can use solar energy to reduce additional heating costs.


In addition, there is a choice of glazing materials which help to keep Ud values low exceeding the requirements specified in Part L of the Building Regulations in England and Wales. And, kerbs and upstands can be tailored to suit exact insulation requirements further helping with thermal and building efficiencies. To aid with ventilation a range of requirements can be met including facilitating smoke ventilation options, all of which are fully tested to EN12101-2.


History has unquestionably been re-written where rooflights and structural glazing is concerned and now, both present a host of tangible benefits in buildings both domestic and commercial.




The future of our buildings and rooflights


Clearly, the impact of rooflights and glazing on our buildings is multi-faceted and, in an industry where its bespoke nature is its beauty, there are so many solutions that it would be impossible to present them here.


Suffice to say that modern glazing solutions are good for you, good for our buildings, good for sustainability and good for energy efficiency. And, who wouldn’t want to enjoy those types of benefits.


Call us today to and discover how we can help flood your building with energy efficient and healthy natural daylight.



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