The Beauty of Daylight – UNESCO International Day of Light 2019

29 May 2019 Kingspan Group
KLA_Beauty of Daylight_Michael Hessmer_DE
The 16th May 2019 marked the second UNESCO International Day of Light. Celebrated across the world by many different sectors of society, the global annual initiative focuses on the important role light plays in science, culture, art, education, construction, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy.
Light touches the daily lives of everybody. Appreciating and harnessing its power is fundamental to our development as a society. It not only helps us to grow and innovate but natural light is key to helping us achieve greater energy efficiency in our buildings, creating a more sustainable future for all. Natural light is the most sustainable lighting option available; it is also a free renewable resource.
Daylighting refers to the deliberate placement of windows, skylights, and other openings in buildings to let in as much natural light as possible. People thrive on natural daylight, and yet we have constructed a world in which we spend much of our time – whether at home, the workplace, or school – in spaces where our access to it is restricted. However, being inside does not mean having to lose out on daylight, with this point increasingly reflected in building designs utilising daylighting products to enhance natural light indoors.
KLA_Beauty of Daylight_Marine Journoud_FR

Research has found that natural light is vital for our wellbeing and can make us feel happier and more content. Exposure to natural daylight has been linked to greater concentration, superior short-term memory, and improved all-round cognitive performance, with this combination lending itself to obvious benefits in work and study.

Research shows that productivity can increase by up to 20% when companies move to buildings with improved natural light. Exposure to light and dark regulates the human body clock, with this helping mood and attention at key points of the day. In other words, bright, natural light triggers alertness and primes us to perform, whereas dimmer light or darkness can have the opposite effect.

KLA_Beauty of Daylight_Joris Assimacopoulos_FR

Increased exposure to natural light boosts vitamin D and melatonin levels, with these linked respectively to reduced heart disease risk and healthier sleeping patterns. In addition, workers in offices with natural daylight suffer less eyestrain, headaches, and drowsiness than those more reliant on artificial light. In another example, hospital patients with greater access to sunlight were found to require less pain medication.  

A 2015 study published in the UK drew attention to the importance of school design when reporting that differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms accounted for 16% of variation in learning progress over one year among over 3,500 students. The researchers reported that ‘naturalness’ (lighting, air quality, and temperature) was the most influential category, accounting for 50% of design-related learning impact, with light the most important individual factor.


When considering the potential for incorporating daylight into building design, it is important to recognise that daylight can be factored into the design of just about any physical space, e.g. homes, apartment complexes, schools, medical facilities, office buildings, warehouses, or factories.

At Kingspan Light +Air, we are passionate about championing the benefits of daylight and how this natural element can intrinsically enhance the health, wellbeing and productivity for the occupants of any building.

KLA_Beauty of Daylight_Hainer Rauterkus_FR
To celebrate the crucial resource of natural daylight, Kingspan Light + Air asked building designers, developers, constructors and interested individuals around the world to share their interpretation of the #BeautyofDaylight for the chance to win a special prize! The submissions were fantastic, making the judging a tough task.

Congratulations to our five winners:
Marine Journoud, Joris Assimacopoulos, Hainer Rauterkus, Michael Heßmer, Philippe Delsalle.

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