3 Ways to Lower Energy Costs with Natural Lighting
By Torrin Greathouse | October 18, 2016
As various daylighting products are developed and improved, there are more and more compelling reasons to integrate natural lighting into your building. One of the biggest reasons however, is still the tremendous cost savings that natural lighting systems can offer. Below are three ways natural light can significantly reduce the energy costs in your facility.
Reduce Lighting Usage
Many electrical lighting products are highly inefficient, wasting 50-90% of the electricity they consume. This inefficiency is the cause of the high lighting costs many buildings experience. While newer, more efficient LEDs are better on this issue, well-designed natural lighting still offers the chance to turn off electric lighting for 6-10 hours per day. This alone can reduce building lighting costs by 40 to 80%. Plus in many cases natural lighting systems provide superior lighting quality which increases worker productivity and customer satisfaction while providing many other human centric benefits.
Prevent Heat Gain
Overuse of your building’s HVAC systems tends to occur due to accumulated waste heat from electrical lighting and the heat windows or traditional skylights generate during warmer months. Fortunately modern natural lighting systems can minimize this heat gain because they are designed like a dual-pane windows, they trap a bubble of air, which prevents heat transfer, while providing bright, healthy, diffused light. Integrating even passive skylights into your building can reduce costs by up to 25% per-square-foot. Solar tracking skylights can offer an even greater cost reduction. One key recommendation when looking to purchase a natural lighting system is to look for the lowest solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) which signifies better thermal protection and comfort.
Minimize Heat Loss
Another source of elevated energy costs is due to heat loss. Windows, low quality skylights, and other poorly insulated areas of a building break the building envelope and can cause major heat loss. During winter months, heat loss can force your heating system to work overtime to maintain a comfortable interior temperature. When you looking to purchase a natural lighting system look for a system with the lowest U-value to minimize your building's heat loss.