One of the biggest enigmas in modern history is the fact that most Americans spend over 10 hours of their day avoiding daylight, the earth’s most abundant resource, yet waste an estimated $146 billion each year (or as much as 38 percent of an average household’s electric bill) recreating what they get outside for free in their office.

According to the US Naval Observatory, New York gets an average of 14.5 hours in the month of April. Natural light can be a home’s best asset, and not only does utilizing it lessen a family’s carbon footprint, it can also decrease depression and improve overall health.

Getting sufficient sleep every night and waking up to a bright, natural light-filled home can be the difference between feeling well-rested and wide awake to spending the entire day in ceaseless lethargy. Having big, bright windows can also save you energy bill by lighting your rooms during the day.

Substituting an entire wall of a room with windows instead of wood, plaster or stone will almost eliminate the need for day-lighting and make the room look bigger. Once the sun sets, all you would need is some mood lighting to enjoy the nighttime view.

If the room getting too hot in the summer, or having too much light is an issue, then incorporating motorized shades into a home’s control system can give your home some “autonomy” while simultaneously trimming down your monthly electric usage and giving your house a “smart” touch. Many home control systems can set temperature and/or open and close motorized shades according to outdoor temperatures and the sun’s location with regards to the home.

The kitchen is the most-used room of the house, and according to Dr. Oz, having lots of light in the room where you eat can make you more conscious of what you’re eating and may even suppress your appetite by increasing serotonin levels.

If you spend a lot of time indoors without much natural light during the week, big windows might help your biological clock reset and stay in tune to prevent fatigue or depression.

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