Daylight Helps the Healing Process: Project Spotlight in Leicester, UK

Daylighting’s known benefits include better student performance and faster patient recovery in medical facilities – so this beautiful roof, in a building that houses the University of Leicester’s medical education, health sciences and psychology departments, serves as an example of striking design that is sensitive to the needs and comforts of occupants. Now the largest Passive House certified building in the UK, the University of Leicester Medical Center serves as a beacon for future high-performance daylighting solutions that are aesthetically powerful and highly responsive to building occupants.

The University of Leicester recently chose to install two large glass roofs as a prominent feature of their new Medical Center. These Passive House Institute-certified glass roofs utilize the Lamilux PR-60 Energysave system, the benchmark for high-performance daylighting solutions. Each roof measures 6.5m x 15.6m (about 21′ x 51′), flooding the interior of the building with natural light, and their design ensures a high degree of occupant comfort and excellent thermal performance. 

Building daylighting provides an extensive array of benefits, ranging from energy savings associated with the use of natural light to the increased health and comfort of building occupants. But it is critical that daylighting systems be well-designed, or discomfort and inefficiency can wreak havoc on building performance. Summer sun and glare can cause visual and thermal discomfort, and winter heat losses can incur energy costs that far exceed the savings that accompany the use of natural light. Most critically, a poor installation can allow water incursion or lead to condensation – and no matter the how extensive the benefits of daylighting, a leaking, dripping window is unacceptable.

The Lamilux PR-60 rooflighting system is designed to address all of these challenges. Installed with an inclination angle of only 3 degrees, these roofs are highly watertight because of their aluminum extruded mullion/transom glazing bar system. This system enables roof daylighting of any size, shape, and inclination, offering design flexibility without compromising performance. The thermal bridge-free, low U-value, triple-pane windows ensure that temperature differences between the indoor environment and the interior window pane are reduced, preventing condensation. And because of its excellent thermal performance, this system allows extensive infiltration of natural light while minimizing heat losses, ensuring that the energy benefits of daylighting outweighs possible costs.

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