Daylighting Improves Healthcare Facility Effectiveness

by | May 9, 2014

hospitalA growing body of research confirms that optimizing natural daylight and outdoor views in healthcare facilities contributes to improved outcomes and shorter recovery times for patients, according to glass manufacturer Saint-Gobain.

Recent research by The Center for Healthcare Design and other organizations finds that natural daylighting and outdoor views benefit healthcare settings in a number of ways, including reducing patient depression, easing pain, decreasing length of hospital stays, reducing medications, improving sleep and circadian rhythm, lessening agitation in dementia patients, and improving the well-being of staff in the work environment, Saint-Gobain says.

It is also the reason behind increased sales of Saint-Gobain’s SageGlass dynamic glass product, the company says. Healthcare facilities are increasingly installing SageGlass, electronically tintable glass that tints on demand, because it can maximize the amount of natural light in buildings while controlling the sun’s harmful glare and heat gain. In addition, unlike shades and blinds, SageGlass does not block patients’ and employees’ connection to the outdoors, the company says.

SageGlass recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its first commercial installation at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif., where the head of heart surgery wanted daylight in the operating room to reduce fatigue for the staff and improve the indoor environment. Shades and blinds, which collect dust and could be a source of nosocomial illnesses, were not allowed in their pristine surgical environment.

The hygienic and ergonomic advantages of dynamic glass also factored into Children’s Hospital Colorado installing dynamic SageGlass in its cardiac operating rooms. The hospital needed to enhance the working environment and energy efficiency in a unit that performs more than 800 heart catheter procedures and more than 500 heart surgeries annually, the company says.

Daylighting, adding individual controls or simply just choosing the correct lamp are all examples of energy efficient lighting strategies that forward-thinking businesses have implemented, Buildings magazine reported in April.

If a building is in line for a structural retrofit, it could be useful to consider making better use of the cheapest, lighting source: the sun. This can be done through adding an atrium, or simply increasing the number of skylights, according to the magazine.

Piicture credit: Hospital waiting room with empty chairs via Shutterstock

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