Natuurlijk licht

Een huis met voldoende natuurlijke lichtinval in ruimten waar ik dagelijks veel verblijf.

This is the amount of direct and indirect sunlight that enters your home. When the openings, such as windows and skylights, are well designed it makes the spaces in your home more pleasant, healthier, more energy efficient and easier to use. 

5 things to keep in mind

  1. Consider the orientation of the windows. The angle at which the sun enters the home affects the brightness and color of the light as well as the heat gained. 
  2. Direct and indirect light are suited for different types of spaces and functions. For example the soft, even, and bluish indirect light from the North is well suited for a library, study rooms or atelier. While strong southern direct light may be more appreciated in a living space.
  3. The form, shape and location of the openings can be used to control the way light the interior space while taking advantage of views and mitigating privacy issues. For example in an urban context a horizontal window at 1.7meters height in the bathroom allows natural light inside while preventing neighbors from looking in. If oriented towards a private garden or nature, a similar horizontal window  placed at 0.5m height it can instead offer views out while lying in the bathtub, thus offering views in exchange for lower amount of light and privacy. Meanwhile a skylight would offer plenty of light and privacy, but no views. 
  4. There is such a thing as too much light. Strong direct sunlight on working surfaces and computers creates glare and high contrast which strains the eyes. Shading and other sun protection is essential, even in a norther country like Belgium. Southern sun can be controlled with over-hangs, while western and eastern sun can be mitigated with vertical louvers. 
  5. When the sun hits a surface, it heats up. This is called passive heat gain. Passive heat gain can be a great benefit for warming up the home in the winter and reducing temperature fluctuations at home between day and night. Passive heat gain is a key element in the heating strategy in Passive homes.  But if not handled appropriately it can become a major nuisance by resulting in uncomfortable and overheated spaces. 

13 Daylighting Guidelines

  1. Do not overcomplicate the daylighting process.
  2. Do not waste money on daylighting features if you do not control artificial lighting first.
  3. Position lighting for maximum effectiveness.
  4. Use tall windows to maximize light penetration.
  5. Eliminate glazing below sill height.
  6. Focus on “effective aperture.”
  7. Make sure the building program relates to natural daylighting.
  8. Calculate daylighting depth.
  9. Address light shelf design.
  10. Account for climate and geography.
  11. Use appropriate materials and colors to finish spaces.
  12. Take into account the payback period of daylighting components.
  13. Focus on new construction.

6 Questions for professionals

  1. How can I use passive heat gain in my home?
  2. How can I make the best of the orientation of my home to increase natural light? 
  3. How much and what kind of daylight will there be in each space (living room, bedroom, study, hallway etc.)
  4. How can I create a lot of natural light entering my home, without shortcoming on privacy(or invading privacy)?
  5. What is the best solution if I do not have the possibility of creating more natural light? What kind of artificial light should best be there in that case?
  6. How can you use materials and colors to increase or decrease natural light inside spaces?

Relevant Resources

Pixii (formerly Passiefhuis Platform) advice on natural light do's and don'ts for passive homes. 

Velux Daylight Visualizer software - If you have a 3D model of your home you can already check the lighting conditions of your home before construction. 

When you don’t have the possibility to create natural light, there are some solutions on the market which can be useful. Velux light tunnel and Sunlight lamps.

Philips, D.(2004) Daylighting: Natural Light in Architecture. Architectural Press.

Xue, P. Mak, C.M.(2010) Energy Conversion and Management. Assessment of building façade performance in terms of daylighting and the associated energy consumption in architectural spaces: Vertical and horizontal shading devices for southern exposure facades.

Schneider, J. W. (Eds). (2011). 13 Daylighting Guidelines. Building Design + Construction. Geraadpleegd via