5 Benefits of Sustainable Lighting in Building Projects
By Jeff Brain | September 26, 2017
By harnessing more renewable energy sources, you have the opportunity to cut maintenance and utility costs, and you can also minimize your company’s carbon footprint. While there are many possible building options available that can help your company achieve cost savings and minimize its environmental impact, a green lighting solution is one of the best because it has monetary returns with some unexpected benefits.
Here are 5 benefits that are overlooked when deciding to invest in a green lighting solution:
1. Cooling Costs Can Decrease
Keeping the lights on will markedly increase your electricity costs. New, energy efficient, sustainable lighting solutions, such as active daylighting devices, create less heat than incandescent, fluorescent, and even traditional skylighting sources.
Greenbiz, a media outlet focused on sustainable design, found that harnessing daylight in your building design not only provides higher quality light, it can reduce the cost of cooling your building by 20%. When you take advantage of natural light with a well-designed window or daylighting device, your air conditioner no longer has to compensate for additional heating or cooling sources. It is important to review the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and u-value of the product when you are evaluating green lighting solutions. The lower the SHGC and u-value ratings, the less heat or cold your HVAC system will have to eliminate.
2. Improves Learning and Worker Productivity
Sunlight offers a long-term benefit that has nothing to do with energy production or cost savings. According to several studies, children respond particularly well to the effects of natural light. Children need exposure to the sun’s rays while they grow both physically and psychologically, but they often miss out on receiving a healthy amount of sunlight in many school settings. Natural light stimulates learning, eases restlessness, and prevents hormone disruptions often linked to dark or artificially lit environments. Researchers in the United States and Sweden have found that students are more productive and progress much faster intellectually when there's ample sunlight in their classroom.
Humans spend more and more time indoors, where sun often passes through screens or light is produced from fluorescent bulbs and other artificial sources. But still, the human body’s circadian rhythm is designed to function best with a natural and equal distribution of light and dark. If your body does not detect natural light cycles, then your ability to sleep will be affected. Natural light regulates sleep and is important for employee health and productivity, which is another way that sustainable lighting solutions that utilize daylight can benefit your company.
4. Immune Systems Get a Boost
Daylight also improves the body’s ability to fight illnesses. Under natural light, hospital patients heal faster and office workers take fewer sick days. Bright, artificial lights, on the other hand, induce stress, which hinders the body's ability to fight infection. Reduce workplace stress levels by replacing those humming white fluorescent tubes with green sustainable lighting alternatives.
5. Better Interior Design
When designing a new space, it is important to take into account the aesthetic value of the construction, especially if you want inhabitants to enjoy spending time inside the building. First impressions are important for clients and new customers, while good overall ambiance maintains high employee morale. Many green lighting solutions offer an efficient option that provides high quality light that can stimulate creativity and positivity.
While there are various benefits associated with green lighting solutions, daylighting provides an opportunity to cut electricity costs and energy consumption while simultaneously improving the quality of light for those within the building. Ciralight SunTrackersutilize solar tracking technology and mirrors to provide higher quality natural light for more hours per-day than any other daylighting device. They also require less roof area and have a shorter return on investment than any other sustainable lighting solution.