Jan 312013

When the speaker’s name started with Dr. and the topic was called “The Human Impact of Daylighting,” I have to tell you, I was sure I would be able to catch up on some much needed sleep. This past week I attended the GANA Annual Conference where we were treated to a panel discussion on Window to Wall Ratio (WWR), and the measurement of the human element to daylight when building LEED/green buildings.

Dr. Whitney Austin Gray led the session, and I thought we would hear about walks on the beach, puppy dog pictures and we would all talk about our feelings.  When the “Dr.” started speaking my body language had folded arms and folded legs, yes … I was closed off to the topic. But in a few minutes she got my attention with the information.  Like sooooo many other times before, my pre-judgment was totally wrong!!

This was more than interesting because there’s hard statistical information on building and designing energy-efficient buildings. But what about the human impact of WWR? Wal-Mart has studies which show their sales go up when they have more natural light, when installing skylights…. so there is something to this daylighting stuff?

Architects tell me the best way to satisfy some of the energy code compliance issues are to build a building with no windows!! But the owners and occupants want more and more natural daylight. Dr. Gray gives a very convincing story on how important daylighting and windows are to the people who occupy those buildings.  She has data that shows when hospitals incorporate the proper design using daylight, the hospital has accelerated it’s wellness recovery program!!

Any idea what “presenteesim” is? The good doctor told us that presenteesim costs American companies over $150 billion a year!! Did you know glass can help to decrease presenteesim with companies? Presenteesim is the measurement of how engaged and productive people are in the offices of the buildings we are designing and building. Again studies show that daylight can actually increase presenteesim – better said, employees are not wasting time in the office.

The next time I think a topic is going to be boring, I think I’ll wait until I hear the whole story and not jump to conclusions!!

  3 Responses to “Measuring Happiness!!!”

  1. John- Tremendous take. Glass has a major place in our world and limiting it would not be a positive at any level. Dr. Gray is right on with her message- may it take hold in DC and every other corner where folks are trying to shoot at us. Keep up the great work!

  2. Daylighting is an important consideration in designing the right building architecture. I like to believe that the benefits of increased daylight penetration into a building will gain greater recognition and counter the heavy lobbying for lower WWR.

    Great post John!


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