Increasing natural lighting in a living space is one of the most beneficial quality-of-life improvements. Natural light has positive effects on human focus, mood, energy levels, circadian rhythms, eyesight and more. While incorporating ample natural light, avoid design decisions that reduce privacy and increase heat and glare from Western exposure. For artificial light, specifying LED fixtures reduces energy requirements, eliminates frequent bulb changes and provides a more natural lighting spectrum. For a small cost premium, smart LED bulbs connect to a hub over Wi-Fi and can be controlled through an app interface, which allows users to adjust the color temperature and set alerts for lights left on during the workday. Try to create varied lighting within spaces. Indirect light reflected along a wall can create a soft, calming glow, while focused downlighting is best for task spaces such as home offices, tool benches and kitchen counters.
Adding windows to existing exterior walls can require patching interior and exterior wall materials. High-efficiency windows will insulate against thermal changes and can greatly reduce energy usage over time, but require a higher initial investment.
Controlling selected lights and adding dimmer switches can provide adjustable levels of light that are appropriate for various activities. Installing timers and occupancy sensors is a great and cost-effective way of reducing energy usage compared to standard light switches. Make sure that windows have blinds or curtains that can limit the amount of natural light. Window coverings can also help control heat gain although exterior shades are much more efficient at reducing heat gain, but at a much higher cost.