Use Natural Light to Support Thinking and Learning

The concept of daylighting, well known to architects, is catching on with educators, human resources professionals, and others who aim to use natural light to draw out the best work from people. Allowing the flow of natural light through a space supports thinking and learning. As explained by Edutopia in an article titled “The Science of Effective Learning Spaces,” light engages the body’s systems related to sleep-wake cycles and cognitive performance.

It starts with windows and skylights, but also relies on the flow of light within the space. Interior doors with glass lites, transoms and side lites facilitate the flow of natural light into classrooms or offices while still meeting requirements for sound reduction or fire resistance. Consider how glass options for wood doors can contribute to a better environment in your next school or office project.

Exterior Stile and Rail double door with side lites installation

Natural Light in Offices

According to Whole Building Design Guide, “By providing a direct link to the dynamic and perpetually evolving patterns of outdoor illumination, daylighting helps create a visually stimulating and productive environment for building occupants, while reducing as much as one-third of total building energy costs.”

Employees recognize the importance of natural light while they work. In a survey by Future Workplace, they rated it the number one perk for an office environment. Research from multiple sources confirms that natural light positively impacts employee engagement and productivity. It also affects employee health, decreasing eye strain, headaches and fatigue.

As open plan offices are fading from popularity, walls and doors hinder the availability of natural light. Furthermore, employees benefit from quieter environments, so doors with good STC-ratings improve their productivity. In order to get the benefits of both sound reduction and natural light, solid wood doors with glass lites provide an ideal solution.

Natural Light in Education

Educators are also noticing the benefits of daylighting compared with manufactured lighting. The Healthy Schools Network reports that students in naturally-lit educational settings demonstrate better work habits, fewer sick days, and better scores on assessments.

Scientific American reported on a separate study where, over one school year, elementary school students exposed to more sunlight during their school day displayed 26 percent higher reading outcomes and 20 percent higher math outcomes than kids in less sunny classrooms.

Door criteria for schools include features like fire resistance and attack resistance. However, they can still permit the flow of daylight with the strategic placement of glass.

Doors with Glass Lites Facilitate Daylighting

Strategically placed lites in or around doors can allow natural light to pass through while still meeting performance needs. You can customize to a great extent by choosing among size and shape of opening, glass types and finishing options. Masonite Architectural offers a broad range of options for factory glazing to enhance the beauty of any finished door.

These are some of the goals you can achieve with doors with glass lites.


It is possible to specify interior wood doors with 20-minute fire rated glazing. In our Graham Maiman doors, choose our wood bead 20-minute lite kit, with ¼” thick clear glass and 1” bars and muntins. Stile and rail doors may be used in combination with fire rated glazing and metal or wood veneered metal lite kits

Attack resistance

Attack resistant door openings are increasingly in demand for schools. When you specify an attack resistant door solution from Masonite Architectural, you get the benefit of Armoured One’s 5/16” tactical security glass, along with standard metal door frames, metal vision kits, and reinforced hardware. The security glass can slow down or deter an attacker who is trying to gain entry through the glass with a blunt object or a gun.


One drawback to glass lites is that not everyone wants passers-by to see through the door. Different glass options including frosted, reeded or rain-patterned provide privacy while still allowing light to pass. Transoms—glass lites above a door—also permit light without letting someone easily see into a room.

School Administration Offices


French doors offer the maximum flow of light and add elegance to executive offices or conference rooms. Opt for true divided or simulated divided lites. Stile and rail doors can be enhanced and customized with lites in configurations of your choosing. Side lites can create the appearance of a larger, more elegant door opening.


All of Masonite Architectural’s wood interior doors exhibit superior craftsmanship and integrity. With the Aspiro™ Series, you will find full lite or lite panel combinations featuring cope-and-stick joinery and custom profiles.Or choose Cendura™ Series flat panel MDF doors with glass inserts routed directly into the door.

When designing for school or office environments, or any location where people can benefit from natural light, consider how to incorporate glass into interior doors. Door lites offer infinite possibilities for style and function, letting you customize your project and delight clients.