Windows Boosts Wellbeing by Connecting the Indoors and Outdoors
Windows are good for you. Really.
Here’s why: They connect you with nature—with sunlight, with views of sky and trees, with fresh air and with changing the weather.
It turns out that connection is very important for your health. Even though today we spend most of our time indoors, human beings evolved in close proximity to the out of doors. So our environment still affects us profoundly. Research shows that patients in hospital rooms with windows that look out on nature heal faster and need fewer painkillers. Similarly, office workers in buildings with views of trees and greenery do better at managing stress, reporting lower blood pressure and heart rates, better emotional functioning, and better levels of concentration.
Windows, it seems, makes us better people.
Biophilic Design Explained
Actually, windows aren’t the only things that are good for us that way. So are plants, water, fire, animals, and natural materials like wood and stone. All are elements of the environment that we respond to in positive ways, often without realizing it.
This emotional and physiological response to nature is behind a hot concept in building called “biophilic design.” The term “biophilic” combines the Latin words for life (“bio”) and love (“philia”). So biophilic design honors our love of living things. And it seeks to introduce more such elements into our spaces. Think: A soaring atrium in an office building, an inner courtyard landscaped with trees, a plug-in fountain that gurgles on your desk, green roofs, fireplaces, even a cat snoozing near your chair.
And windows! Because if a biophilic design works in commercial settings, it definitely works at home, too.
Windows Connect Us With Nature, Safely and Beautifully
Windows are powerful tools in biophilic design because they blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor worlds. Windows allow us to connect strongly with nature in numerous ways while still staying warm, safe, and dry.
The first way windows connect us with nature is visual. We like to look at the natural world: Homes that look out on pleasing views tend to command higher prices. While you maybe can’t change your home’s location to improve the views, you can still use windows to frame existing perspectives in attractive or dramatic ways. Opening up a wall with windows or glass doors that overlook a balcony, deck, landscaped yard or porch suddenly brings nature much closer. Or, add a skylight to a dark corner, dim hallway, or closed-in bath to transform a space with natural light.
Another way windows connect us with nature is through sound and air. You may have all the light that you already want coming in through your windows. But if some of those windows no longer open, you’re missing a biophilic element that can enhance your health. Working windows let in fresh air and wholesome sounds. A breeze moving through the house not only feels and smells good; it also carries the soothing noises of rustling leaves, birdsong, or the patter of rain. These sounds calm us and improve our mood and functioning.
How Can We Help?
While we aren’t trained in biophilic design at McCann, we are expert in figuring out how to get more happiness into your home via windows. So let us take an inventory of what’s working for you and what could be better in your home’s design. We think your house should not only be the place where you feel comfortable, but also the place where you feel and are your best. Give us a call if you have questions about restoring, repairing or replacing your windows and home exterior. We’re ready to serve you and estimates are free. Just visit www.mccannwindow.com or call (847) 892-4071.