Let the Sunshine In!  It’s Good For You AND Your Home

Most people can probably afford to get a little more sunshine: most of us work indoors long hours during the day and then come home and stay in until the next morning when we get up to do it all over again. And even if you do spend more time outdoors in the fresh air than the average person, the amount of sunlight you get is probably still not very much.

And that is too bad, of course, because sunlight is good for you!  Of course, it is the most abundant natural source of Vitamin D, which is good for your body.  But did you know that natural sunlight is also good for your home!  Sure, if you have plants in your home, sunlight can help them stay alive, which helps to purify your air, but there is actually more to it!

As a matter of fact, when you allow natural sunlight into your home it actually helps to reduce the presence of some types of bacteria. According to a new study in the Journal of the Microbiome, there is a mix of bacteria that exists—pretty much at all times—in an enclosed space or within any living being—that is called a microbiome.  You have a microbiome. Your car has a microbiome.  Every bedroom in your home has a different microbiome, and those are also different from the microbiome of the kitchen as well as the bathroom.

In dark rooms/spaces, the microbiome bacteria are able to reproduce at a rate of about 12 percent, on average, say researchers from the University of Oregon.  In sunlight, however, the research team found that only 6.8 percent were able to reproduce. And if you are able to remove all ultraviolet (UV) light, you can reduce that rate even further: to 6.1 percent.

As such, University of Oregon post-doctoral researcher in Biology and Built Environment Center, Dr. Ashkaan Fahimipour, comments, “When designing buildings, we should take into account and understand how the microbiome may be selected, based on the design.  This could have an impact on health.”

Indeed, University of Oregon BBEC co-director Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg advises, that six percent may not sound like a lot but it is six percent of several million cells.  Thus, he notes, “Until now, daylighting has been about visual comfort or broad health. But now we can say daylighting influences air quality.”