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3/19/2014

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The New Office Perk: Daylight



Survey says 82% of employed Americans believe there is a connection between office morale and the amount of natural light in an office

MINNEAPOLIS--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--There is a reason for windows in buildings—people enjoy natural daylight and a connection to the outdoors. However, these benefits are nullified when we block the view and restrict daylight with blinds, shades and other obstructions to avoid uncomfortable glare and heat.

“This new survey reveals that it is not just a lighting efficiency problem; it is about how shutting out views and daylight negatively affects occupants’ acuity and attitudes. People prefer the visual stimulation of the outside natural world and are happier and perform their jobs better.”

These sentiments were confirmed in a recent survey on daylighting issues conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of SAGE Electrochromics in June 2013 among more than 2,500 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

While researchers have long known that daylit environments can improve worker productivity1 and save energy, the survey revealed the ability to improve morale and personal well-being as another ability recognized by the vast majority of employed Americans: 82%of working Americans think there is a connection between office morale and the amount of natural light in the office. And a similar percentage of those who work in an office setting said that they are more productive at work when they have a view of the outdoors than when the blinds/shades are pulled down in their personal office space (79%).

“Architects design buildings using natural light to lower energy use and improve occupant comfort. These efforts are negated when you cover the windows and block daylight,” said Derek Malmquist, vice president of marketing for SAGE. “This new survey reveals that it is not just a lighting efficiency problem; it is about how shutting out views and daylight negatively affects occupants’ acuity and attitudes. People prefer the visual stimulation of the outside natural world and are happier and perform their jobs better.”

Nearly eight in ten (79%) employed adults who work in an office setting agreed that they are more productive at work when they have an outdoor view than when the blinds/shades are pulled when in their personal office space, and 77% these said there is a connection between the amount of natural light in their personal office space and their work performance.

A technology for window glass that blocks the glare and heat of the sun without obstructing the view was developed by SAGE Electrochromics and has been commercially available since 2003. Called SageGlass®, the technology enables glass to darken or clear on demand to manage and optimize the amount of daylight and solar heat coming through the window.

“The good news is that architects and building owners no longer have to block the outdoor views to keep out the negative elements of the sun, such as glare and heat gain,” said Malmquist. “A separate nationwide survey conducted by the Hanley Wood Group, concluded that architects believe that occupants perform better in buildings when they are exposed to natural light and a view to the outdoors. The results from both surveys show a vast opportunity for dynamic glazing.”

“Dynamic glass is reshaping the workplace to help employees thrive by maintaining a strong connection to the world outside their walls. We often like to say that enhanced daylighting in offices will be the next ‘perk’ for employees.”

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of SAGE from June 4-6, 2013, among 2,572 adults ages 18 and older, of whom 1,351 are employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Ed Marshall at emarshall@brodeur.com.

About SAGE Electrochromics, Inc.

SAGE Electrochromics is the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced dynamic glass that can be tinted or cleared to optimize daylight and improve the human experience in buildings. SageGlass controls the sunlight and heat that enter a building, significantly reducing energy consumption while improving people’s comfort and well-being. SageGlass can reduce a building’s cooling load by 20% and HVAC requirements up to 30%. It is a smarter, more elegant solution than conventional sun controls such as mechanical window shades, blinds and louvers. Now celebrating its 10th year anniversary shipping SageGlass commercially, the company was founded in 1989 and is headquartered near Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., in the heart of “the Silicon Valley of the window industry.” SAGE is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain of Paristhe world’s largest building materials company.

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