Daylight and Views

Indoor areas with natural sunlight and views of the natural outdoors are shown to improve occupant health and productivity. Therefore, LEED rewards projects with spaces that have daylight and views.
Jeremy Levine Design

Daylighting, or the natural lighting provided by the sun, and views of the outdoors are important components of green building because they contribute to improved indoor environmental quality.  Daylighting connects occupants with the outdoors, stabilizes circadian rhythms and reduces the amount of electrical indoor lighting needed, which decreases energy use.   Views also connect occupants with nature and the outdoors.


Improved Worker Productivity

Daylight and views have been shown to have positive effects on worker productivity, health and satisfaction. 


For example, in an article titled “Building the Green Way” in the June 2006 Harvard Business Review, Charles Lockwood stated, “green design criteria – including abundant daylighting, individual climate controls, and outdoor views – raise morale and employee satisfaction, which also improves productivity”.


Genzyme Corporation’s LEED Platinum headquarters, the Genzyme Center, was touted as an example: When 920 employees moved from the former headquarters to the new green office space, 58% reported increased productivity. Sick time decreased by 5% compared to the company’s other office spaces.


Similarly, Professor Vivian Loftness studied the effect of natural light and air on worker productivity.   In her 2003 Carnegie Mellon University study, she showed a 3-18% gain in productivity in buildings with daylighting systems, which increase natural light.


LEED Credits for Daylighting and Views


Since daylighting and views have a demonstrated effect on occupant health and productivity, green building projects that incorporate them can earn LEED points.


In LEED 2009, Daylighting and Views is one credit in Indoor Environmental Quality with two parts, each worth one point.  For Daylighting, the project must achieve daylighting in 75% of regularly occupied spaces, demonstrated through simulation, prescription, measurement, or a combination of the three.


For views, the project must achieve a direct line of sight to the outdoor environment via vision glazing in 90% of occupied spaces.  The line of sight must be between 30 inches and 90 inches above the floor.


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