Healthcare facilities, including hospitals and clinics, have historically been built with the primary focus of providing safe and sterile environments for patients and their families. Due to this emphasis on sterility, these facilities have not typically been developed with architectural elements in mind, including the importance of maintaining a connection to the outdoors and the incorporation of natural light. However, according to numerous studies, it has been found that access to natural daylighting can provide therapeutic benefits to patients, and it may be time to rethink how we design healthcare facilities.
According to recent research by The Center for Health Design, patients who stayed on the brighter side of a hospital unit, who were exposed to 46 percent higher-intensity sunlight on average, experienced less perceived stress, marginally less pain, took 22 percent less analgesic medication per hour and had 21 percent less pain medication costs than their counterparts.
Sunlight clearly plays a powerful role in the healing process – and dynamic glass is the perfect solution for maintaining a strong connection to the outdoors. Dynamic glass allows patients, their families and facility staff to experience the immense benefits of natural daylighting, while controlling for heat gain and glare to provide a comfortable, temperature-controlled indoor environment.
In addition, dynamic glass has the potential to improve healthcare facilities’ bottom line by helping to cut operational costs that occur over the span of a healthcare facility’s lifecycle. With electrochromic glass there is little need for energy-intensive HVAC systems and overhead electrical lighting.
We recently installed 3,000-square-feet of SageGlass in the curved glass curtain wall at the Butler County Health Care Center in David City, Nebraska. The dynamic curtain wall tints automatically to tame the sun’s glare while flooding the center with natural light. The architects ruled out mechanical shades early on in the project because they were not able to accommodate the complex curtain wall and its shape.
SageGlass helped the Butler County Health Care Center achieve its design goals of creating openness and demonstrating a strong connection to the community. Due to the installation of our dynamic glass, patients and healthcare staff benefit from having access to clear views of the park and golf course surrounding the Center, while the Center experiences increased energy efficiency and reduced HVAC requirements.
As a result of some of our successful installations at healthcare facilities, including the Butler County Health Care Center, we believe we will see an increase in installations in this vertical as architects and building developers see how dynamic glass can improve the overall patient experience as well as help these facilities achieve sustainability and energy-efficiency goals. Because healing is the focus, healthcare facilities want to provide their patients with the best opportunity for success, and our dynamic glass is a step in the right direction.