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Designing Hospitals to Maximize Daylight Solution by: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

This hospital applies a natural approach to the enhancement of health and wellbeing by increasing exposure to daylight and views.

The Triple Bottom Line

Environmental Increasing natural daylight in hospitals reduces electricity use for lighting.

Social Hospitals designed to increase natural light exposure help staff and patients manage both stress and happiness levels. 3

Economic Increased natural light exposure correlates to reduced staff errors, absenteeism, and patient stay times. 4

As hospitals have grown larger, more occupants are placed further away from windows, which decreases the amount of natural light available to patients and staff. SOM’s design for the Joint and Spine Center at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, is challenging this norm by maximizing access to natural light. The hospital design maximizes the porosity of the floor plan, driving natural light deep into the nursing unit. All patient rooms have wall-to-wall windows. With these design features, The Christ Hospital caregivers anticipate faster patient recoveries and better staff performance, with improved daily life inside the facilities. Why a Sustainia100 solution? Recent studies have found that patients exposed to higher-intensity sunlight levels experienced less perceived pain and had 21% less pain medication costs.1 Hospital staff reported higher job satisfaction and missed fewer hours of work. 2 It is hoped that bringing higher levels of natural light into the hospital will improve patient outcomes and increase patient and staff satisfaction.

Developed: USA

Deployed:  USA 

1 Leather, Pyrgas, Beale, & Lawrence. “Windows in the Workplace: Sunlight, View, and Occupational Stress.” Environment & Behavior. 1998. 2 Shepley, Gerbi, Watson, Imgrund & Sagah-Zadeh. “The Impact of Views on ICU Patients and Staff’. Health Environments Research & Design Journal. 2011.

The Center for Health Design. “The Impact of Light on Outcomes in Healthcare Settings.” 2006.

3, 4

“We anticipate that the design will  create extraordinary patient experiences  and elevate the environment in which our care teams work.” Deborah M. Hayes, RN MS NEA-BC, Vice President, Chief Hospital Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, The Christ Hospital

A light-filled patient floor is crafted to reflect state-ofthe-art medical technologies while providing a tranquil atmosphere that promotes healing and enhances staff performance.


Sustainia100 2014