April 6, 2022
To create a clean, dust-free environment, some modern factories are constructed without windows, with no access to daylighting. What this has shown is that eliminating windows from factories can have unintended consequences, as windowless environments have negative effects on workers.
One example occurred in 1946 when a windowless factory was built in Sweden. Workers complained of headaches and fatigue, and also experienced feelings of severe negativity. Since that time, other businesses and companies with windowless factories have discovered that, while eliminating windows can solve some problems, more problems are created in the process.
Whether you’re a business owner, architect, or designer of industrial buildings, it’s important to understand the effects of daylighting on workers, and how installing windows in your industrial building can help improve efficiency, reduce costs, and create a more positive environment for workers.
Russian and Czechoslovakian studies show that workers in factories without windows have more illness, headaches, and feelings of faintness than workers in factories with windows. One study even showed that workers in an underground factory had decreased white cell activity, increased permeability of capillaries, more colds, and more infections.
Creating a windowless environment can increase business costs by increasing the overall cost of labor. More sick days mean more time lost, less efficiency, and more paid time off. Workers in industrial buildings that have windows enjoy the health effects of working in an environment with natural daylight. Daylight is said to:
Adults who are regularly exposed to daylight in their work environment are often healthier than adults who work in windowless environments.
In one study of windowless work environments performed in 1964, workers claimed to have feelings of unhappiness and claustrophobia. In another study, workers complained of depression and headaches. In one windowless environment, employees broke wall panels until it was determined that workers must have some contact with the outside world as a part of their job.
Meanwhile, exposure to daylight promotes an overall happier mood and increased levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a hormone that combats psychological conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression.
Light in a windowless work environment can cause a decrease in production, in part because workers can’t see as well. Performing detailed, precise work can be more difficult in environments without full spectrum daylight supplemented with proper indoor artificial lighting. Increasing light can help with production.
In experiments and studies, the relationship between worker accuracy and worker speed is made clear. In better lighting conditions, workers can take less time and produce more accurate work. On a related note, better lighting can also decrease accidents on the job – possibly for the same reason that better lighting can improve worker accuracy and speed. This reduces the number of worker compensation claims and can save businesses money.
Overall, it’s to the benefit of the workers and their employers to have sufficient light to complete the work that needs to be done. It’s also to the benefit of workers and their employers if some of that light is daylighting, supplemented by other indoor lighting to keep out shadows in work areas.
Daylighting can reduce accidents and thus facility costs. Daylighting also creates an environment that attracts better workers and makes industrial facilities more competitive. Business owners that are able to harness the power of daylighting in their facility may be able to save money, increase production and improve their business overall.
At VTECH Skylights, we’ve created skylights that stand up to the toughest code and safety standards. They’re durable enough to stand up to winds blasting at hundreds of miles per hour, and they’re strong enough to withstand impacts from objects weighing hundreds of pounds. Our skylights are designed to admit daylight into your industrial facility without compromising the integrity of your structure. To learn more about how VTECH Skylights can add value and bring daylight to your industrial building, contact us.