Visual comfort and natural lighting


The sun has been our main source of light and heat for millions of years, and we have become almost totally dependent on it for our health and survival. The world and especially the sustainable design movement is now turning to nature due to its growing concern for global warming, carbon emissions and sustainable development. Important steps are being taken to increase the use of natural light in both residential and non-residential buildings.


Applying innovative and advanced daylighting strategies can significantly improve the quality of light in an indoor environment, as well as energy efficiency by minimizing artificial lighting, heating, and cooling needs, thereby reducing a building's electricity consumption. By providing a direct connection to the outdoors, natural light helps create a stimulating and productive environment for building occupants, while significantly reducing the building's overall energy costs.


Daylight has many positive attributes, the main one being the improvement of the psychological value of space. Bringing natural light into a building reduces the need for electric lighting during the day, while helping to connect indoor spaces with the outdoors for building occupants.

However, natural light also has negative aspects such as glare, overheating, variability and privacy issues. It is therefore left up to the designer to find suitable ways to use natural light within a building.


A study by the Heschong Mahone Group (HMG), a California architectural consulting firm, concluded that students who received lessons in classrooms with more natural light scored up to 25% higher on tests standardized than students in the same school district but whose classrooms had less natural light.

Natural lighting is comfortable to the extent that its intensity can be controlled.

Visual comfort is achieved by providing lighting adapted to the activity in the visual field, avoiding very pronounced contrasts.