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Featured Content: Circadian Rhythms

Special Feature: The Daylighting Guide for Office Interiors

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Advanced Buildings will be in Boston November 16-18, 2011 for New England's largest design and construction event. Visit us at Booth #306 to scan your ID badge for a chance to win an Apple iPad 2.0!

Webinar: Introduction to the Daylighting Pattern Guide
Join us on December 7th, 2011 at 10 a.m. PST
Advanced Buildings, in partnership with Seattle City Light and AIA Seattle, invites you to a one-hour workshop on the principles of effective daylighting design and capabilities of a new, innovative design tool, the Daylighting Pattern Guide.

Previously offered in book form as the Advanced Lighting Guidelines (ALG), ALG Online is a comprehensive lighting resource that explores theory, strategies, luminaires, design schematics, case studies and more. Take a look at the site map to see a breakdown of all ALG Online chapter sections and sub-sections. Try a 5-day Free Trial! Just enter coupon keycode: 5Days_FREE

As the months grow cooler and the days shorter, we're reminded of the ways light impacts human health and well-being. Both daylight and electric light can have positive and negative impacts, affecting everything from our skin to our mood as well as all-important circadian functions like the sleep-wake cycle. As a result, the spaces we inhabit—and the light within those spaces—have direct implications for our health, particularly in the winter months when days are shorter. The more we learn about the impact of different light characteristics on health and well-being, the better we are able to ensure lighting design that mitigates negative effects and maximizes benefits.

ALG Online's Health & Performance chapter describes the impact of light on human health—including implications for the circadian system—and outlines the ways in which lighting design can address those influences. Read more about how lighting affects circadian rhythms like the sleep-wake cycle in our featured content otherwise available only to subscribers.

Last month's newsletter highlighted the value and benefits of daylighting from an energy savings perspective; the benefits to occupant health and well-being further make the case for daylighting as a critical element in lighting design. This is particularly important in work environments, where many of us spend a majority of daylight hours during darker winter months. For more information on optimal lighting for work environments, check out this month's special feature, the Daylighting Guide for Office Interiors, which provides guidance for successfully integrating daylight into commercial office spaces.

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Circadian Rhythms
Light does more than allow us to see more clearly. It controls important biological processes and impacts circadian rhythms, including the sleep/wake cycle and other factors such as alertness, mood, memory recall and cognitive throughput. Repeating roughly every 24 hours, circadian rhythms have evolved under a natural regime of daylight days and dark nights. This light/dark cycle is the primary synchronizer of the internal functions. Generally, exposure to strong light levels during daytime hours makes us more alert and focused through the day, while minimal light exposure at night leads to deeper, more restful sleep. The latter is due in part to higher levels of the hormone melatonin, which is produced at night under dark conditions and is directly associated with activity level and a reduced core body temperature. With considerations like this in mind, it should come as no surprise that light exposure patterns have a positive role to play in the alleviation and prevention of health problems.

Click here to read more about the Positives & Negatives of Daylight

Typical indoor environments do not have the necessary lighting levels, spectrum, and timing to stimulate the circadian system. This issue is compounded during winter months when days are shorter and a majority of time is spent inside, leaving room for circadian disruption and impacts on sleep patterns and mood. Advanced lighting design can minimize circadian disruption by providing for high illuminances during the day and low illuminances at night befitting the requirements of a given space.

To read more, Subscribe Now for full access to the ALG Online's Health & Performance chapter.
The Daylighting Guide for Office Interiors
Let's face it—we spend a lot of time at the office. For many of us, this means long daytime hours with limited daylight exposure. As described above, this can have serious implications for our health and well-being. Interior architects and designers play a critical role in ensuring the full benefit of daylighting design. Without proper space planning, window coverings and interior finishes, the best plans for using natural light to lower energy use can be defeated—not to mention the implications for occupant health, comfort and productivity.

The Daylighting Guide for Office Interiors was developed by Interior Architects, the Integrated Design Lab in Seattle and New Buildings Institute (NBI), part of the NBI's Advanced Buildings® suite of tools and resources. Funded in part by ALG Online, the Guide helps designers understand the best use of space and finishes to maximize daylight, providing steps and strategies to achieve advanced daylighting design.

For more information, go to
About ALG Online

ALG Online has been developed by New Buildings Institute (NBI) as part of its Advanced Buildings suite of tools and resources to help design teams and other commercial building professionals create high performance commercial buildings.

Thanks to our Advanced Lighting Guidelines Sponsors and Contributors. Without their support and commitment to high performance commercial building, this valuable resource would not be available.
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