Daylighting is generally considered to produce the highest quality natural light. Studies suggest that work and perform with great enjoyment and higher productivity in daylit conditions.  Interior spaces which make use of some form of daylighting strategy often have greater levels of illumination than spaces using electrical lighting solutions.

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Daylight Light Quality

Daylight is said to have a higher quality of light than electric light.  Light quality is not necessarily a measurement of brightness, instead light quality is rated according to several characteristics of the light source, including:

  • How well the light is dispersed within a space.  Light dispersion is the basic characteristic of how light behaves in a space, and which areas of the space are best lit.  Electric light tends to be very directional, while daylight tends to diffuse very evenly and naturally.  As a result, daylight provides very balanced lighting in all directions to interior spaces.

  • How well the light reveals colors.  How well light shows colors is known as color rendition.  Daylight generally provides the most brilliant effect on colors because it is very balanced throughout the light spectrum, so colors shades are presented very naturally.  Electric lighting usually emphasizes specific colors which produces a more artificial lighting effect.

  • The tendency of the light to flicker or not.  Light flicker is variation in light levels.  Certain electric lighting such as fluorescent lighting flickers as a result of its electrical power supply and other aspects of its design.  Other electrical lighting such as Incandescent lamps may not have significant light flicker.  Daylight has a very even light level, so there is no unnatural flicker.

  • The tendency of the light to create natural highlights on 3-d objects.  Daylight typically creates highlights on objects (such as a person’s hair) and the shadows cast by daylight are considered “soft”.  This may be the result of daylight traveling in a general direction, rather than a specific direction.