The distinctive benefits of glazing. The social and economic contributions of glazed areas to sustainbility in the built environment

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The socio-economic contributions of glazed areas to sustainable buildings

The distinctive benefits of glazing

We spend over 80% of our lives within buildings and numerous research studies have demonstrated that glazing has profound implications in terms of human health, happiness and productivity, including:

  • quality of life, happiness and a sense of wellbeing
  • health (and healing)
  • ability to learn in educational establishments
  • productivity whilst at work
  • profitability and shopper-footfall in retail buildings

The non-energy related benefits associated with glazing are primarily linked to the following:

  • The provision of daylight within buildings and/or access to sunlight o Enabling tasks to be undertaken, whilst also enhancing the spatial environment 
  • Establishing a link between the internal and external environment, by providing building occupants with a visual connection to the natural world outside the building
  • The use of glazing as a structural façade element, aesthetic component and/or cultural art-form.

Compelling, objective, independent research evidence regarding human health, happiness and wellbeing associated with glazing is presented in this report. Of particular importance are the findings from the healthcare and education sectors, together with emerging evidence regarding the importance of daylight in retail buildings and in providing a link to the natural world in homes.

  • In healthcare, research findings demonstrate that access to daylight provides; a reduction in the average length of hospital stay, quicker post-operative recovery, reduced requirements for pain relief, quicker recovery from depressive illness and disinfectant qualities.In educational buildings access to daylight has been shown to result in a dramatic (and demonstrable) improvement in student academic achievement, behaviour, calmness and focus.
  • In the workplace numerous studies have identified a preference to work near windows and under conditions which fully utilise natural rather than artificial light.
  • In retail establishments, research shows that a substantial improvement in sales can be achieved in daylit shops.
  • In buildings of all types, including in the residential sector, many of the studied benefits associated with daylight and connections to the outside world can be equally realised, thus contributing to sensations of well-being.

This report provides a comprehensive summary of the benefits provided by glazing by enabling daylight penetration into buildings and an ability to establish a visual link with the natural world outside.