Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons

Palm tree in Hilo, by Brocken Inaglory (via Wikimedia Commons)

As a recent transplant to Hawaii (I believe the term is “haole”) who has a deep appreciation of the richness and grace of this environment, I was pleased to read that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Regional Center in Honolulu (on Ford Island) was designed using “biological influences,” with a passive cooling system that doesn’t need any (yes, not one!) mechanical fans for ventilation.  They also used the strategies of native trees to inspire appealing natural lighting solutions.

The benefits of using natural light are not just the energy savings over powered lighting. There are places—such as Google—that design and build to take advantage of natural light to foster a higher IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) for their workers. There’s research to support that that natural light benefits our eye’s development—and provides a manager for our circadian rhythms.

It’s clear: turn off the lamp—and open the blinds!