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Let There Be Daylight: A Homebuilder’s Guide

10/29/2015

Can daylight help close more home sales?

It's a fair question. In the world of commercial real estate, where just about everything can be valued in dollars and cents, even daylight has a price: Commercial real estate space with windows lease for about 20 percent more than space without them.

The value of natural light is a growing factor with today's home buyer as well. Many home buyers like the idea that a home interior bathed in daylight can help:

  • Make you feel better by raising the level of endorphins and serotonin in your brain
  • Fight insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a condition associated with sunlight‐shortened winter months that causes irritability, fatigue, and even sadness.
  • Cleanse the home with ultraviolet rays that act as a natural antiseptic
  • Fortify the body with an extra dose of vitamin D, which is best absorbed through sunlight
  • Prevent disease such as rickets in children and osteoporosis in both men and women

Home builders are well‐served to play‐up these widely‐documented health benefits, especially in homes that take maximum design advantage of a sun‐drenched southern facing. Turning "the daylight health factor" into a tangible sales benefit can only help reinforce buyer interest and speed the close.

How about daylight aesthetics? Home builders have several ways to play the sun card at design time. Here are three proven daylight‐loving strategies that you may yield unexpected home‐selling results:

The Double‐Sided Strategy

In 1977 a book titled A Pattern Language was published to wide acclaim. Today this 1,171‐page book stands as a classic in architecture, informing the profession with rules – called patterns – that guide winning residential and commercial design.

One pattern goes like this: "When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on both sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty."

In many cases, the idea of rooms with windows on two sides is impossible. But enterprising builders can extend natural light by adding a window to an interior wall when an exterior wall isn't available.

The Large South Window Strategy

Expansive glass on the south of a home can be an attractive design feature, especially if it integrates overhangs to temporize the excessive heat gain of midday summer exposure. Another technique home builders use to moderate heat gain is to add interior surface mass to the south wall. The extra mass, which may be nothing more than an extra layer of drywall, absorbs excess heat and retains it until the room temperature drops. The absorbed heat is then comfortably released into the room.

The See‐Through Home Strategy

A Pattern Language prescribes rooms with windows on two sides. How about the entire house? Entering a home without an interior see‐through to backyard daylight can be an unsettling, even confining, experience. Homes that allow a view to backyard daylight at the entryway are considered more inviting and welcoming.

Today, residential and commercial architects are taking ever more aggressive steps to capture daylight (daylight harvesting) in the buildings they design. As you plan the next phase of your homebuilding program, consider daylight a bright idea to build with.

Related Tags: Health | Comfort/Livability | Trends