Are Your Blinds Making You Less Smart?

For the bulk of human history, we have been an outdoor species evolving to thrive in the natural environments around us. Access to daylight and views of nature are not only preferable attributes of a workplace, but also physiologically tied to our health and well-being.

The EVOLV study, conducted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and SUNY Upstate Medical University, found that office workers experienced immediate and substantial benefits to their health and productivity when working in an office with optimized daylight and views.

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The EVOLV Study Overview

The EVOLV study was designed to test the effect of exposure to daylight and views during workday hours on objectively measured cognitive function and sleep.

The study relocated 30 participants from their regular office to spend one week in each of two office environments. One of the offices had traditional roller blinds while the other was equipped with View Smart Windows. Study participants took daily surveys, wore a sleep tracking device and completed 90-minute cognitive assessments. The assessment results were then processed to provide scores on 9 cognitive domains ranging from breadth of approach to strategy.

Blinds vs. Smart Windows

Key Findings

Participants scored 42% higher on cognitive assessments in the office with smart windows.

All 9 domains of cognitive function were positively affected by smart windows.

Cognitive function scores increased over the course of the week in the office with smart windows, while decreasing in the office with traditional blinds.

The 42% higher cognitive function scores are equivalent to a 14% increase in productivity.


Participants slept 37 minutes longer per night when working in the office with smart windows.

  • Participants with poor sleep prior to the study saw the biggest benefit from smart windows.

  • The effect of smart windows on sleep duration was greater than taking a sleep supplement before bed.

Participants reported improved mood and less eyestrain with smart windows.

less likely to report eyestrain
less likely to report feeling depressed
Peer-Reviewed Paper
EVOLV Research Brief
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