The benefits of "daylighting" are real. The amount of daylight a person receives affects brain chemistry, and a lack of it can lead to seasonal affective disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. Exposure to sunlight helps our brain produce serotonin and endorphins, hormones that stabilize our mood and encourage feelings of well-being and happiness.
"Daylighting is a big buzz concept right now, for good reason," said Robert E. Westfall Jr., president of Solatube International. "With so many people now working from home and staying home more often due to COVID-19, it is critical for health and well-being to have lots of natural light in the home. Since there are so many options now for daylighting, it's something nearly everyone can enjoy."
Daylighting is defined as the method of bringing in natural light to an interior of a home or workplace, Westfall said.
Solatube produces tubular skylights for small spaces and larger areas.
"These have domes on the rooftop that harvest sunshine and deliver it down a highly reflective tube, through a diffuser at the ceiling and into the environment below, flooding the space with pure, natural daylight," Westfall said.
In the broadest sense daylighting also includes windows and traditional skylights.
"It includes anything that brings natural light into the interior environment," Westfall said.
Daylighting can be incorporated either into new home construction or added to existing homes.
"Tubular skylights, in particular, are affordable and easy to install, usually in two hours of less, with no major construction needed," Westfall said.
Tubular skylights provide warm, indirect light and are less expensive to install than skylights, which require drywall, paint and framing.
Daylighting "absolutely promotes energy savings in that an effectively daylit home reduces the need for electric lights during the day," Westfall said.
To maximize natural light in the homes, Westfall suggests a mix of daylighting solutions including energy-efficient windows, doors with glass panels, traditional box skylights and tubular skylights.
"The nice thing for homeowners with tubular skylights is that they can be installed in places that may not work for windows or traditional skylights. These include areas such as closets, hallways and bathrooms. Piping in natural light this way means that almost the entire home can be daylit in some fashion," Westfall said.