5 Data Backed Reasons to Invest in Natural Lighting for Your Building
By Jeff Brain | September 30, 2015
One of the major design concerns in any building, whether it is a new structure or a retrofit, is the best form of lighting to use. Because the market for artificial lights is so large, building owners often disregard the possibility of incorporating natural lighting into their facility. A new generation of more advanced and efficient skylights and other daylighting systems has made this a far more viable option. Here are five data backed reasons to consider investing in illuminating your facility with natural light.
1) Increase Productivity
Working under natural sunlight offers a lot of benefits for a business workforce. One of the most important of these is the increase in productivity it creates. Exposure to sunlight has been shown to improve moods, decrease absenteeism, and increase worker efficiency. All of this can amount to a possible increase in efficiency of 6-16%.
2) Improve Employee Health
The health benefits of exposure to sunlight are long documented. Using skylights or other daylighting systems to bring it into your building can not only reduce employee sick days by 6.5%, but improve the long term health of building occupants. Frequent exposure to sunlight has been shown to aid in the prevention of a wide range of disorders including Seasonal Affective Disorder, pre-diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and some autoimmune diseases.
3) Raise Sales
While many people are unaware of the benefits natural lighting offers for retail businesses, incorporating it into your facility has the potential to boost sales by up to 40%. Studies have shown multiple key effects which cause daylit stores to garner higher sales. First, the comfortable natural light has been shown to generate repeat business. Second, in stores which use both artificial and natural light, items under natural light sell better, even when they are identical to items sold under artificial light.
4) Qualify for Building Certifications
There are a wide range of different certifications that can be obtained for a building's sustainable design, among the best known of these being the LEED accreditation. Installing skylights, blinds, or other technology which brings sunlight into your facility can help you qualify for LEED or other certifications. Oftentimes points which contribute toward these certifications are awarded for improving indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency, both of which can be achieved with well implemented natural lighting.
5) Reduce Energy Costs
Using daylighting systems to provide natural lighting in a facility can offer a significant reduction to building energy consumption. An Energy Center of Wisconsin study found that passive daylighting alone could reduce building energy costs by as much as 22%. Active daylighting can reduce costs even further than this, because it reduces both artificial lighting and HVAC use. One study showed that this energy reduction could amount to as high as 50-80%.
Ciralight manufactures a solar tracking skylight, the SunTracker. This system combines solar panels and GPS technology to naturally light a facility for up to 10.5 hours per day, with zero electrical cost.