5 Key Factors When Considering Integrating Daylighting
By Torrin Greathouse | January 02, 2018
Integrating daylighting into a facility, particularly as part of a retrofit project can be extremely challenging. A poorly system will have trouble providing the greatest potential benefits of daylight. Below are five important factors to consider for your project.
1. Determine Optimal Light Level
Depending on the tasks being performed in your facility, the optimal level of lighting can differ greatly. Large industrial facilities require more illumination than other facilities to curtail the chance of injury, while overly bright light can cause eyestrain in an office setting. Luckily, The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America provides guidelines for ensuring the proper lighting level based on the tasks being executed in your facility.
2. Maximize Roof Space
Space requirements are often one of the most challenging parts of lighting design. When selecting a daylighting system, it is important to factor in how much roof space it will take to properly light your facility. Because traditional skylights are effectively just windows in the roof of a facility, they take the most space, using up to 10% of a building’s roof space. Solar tracking skylights, on the other hand, use as little as 1% to provide the same level of light.
3. Complement Interior Design
If your daylighting design does not complement your interior design, you may find the efficiency of your lighting significantly decreased. Make sure to plan your lighting around ceiling level obstructions such as HVAC ducts, as well as high shelving or interior walls, which could interrupt the flow of light.
4. Minimize HVAC Strain
Along with ensuring reduced lighting costs, daylighting has the potential to reduce HVAC costs, though it also has the ability to increase them. As mentioned above, traditional skylights effectively function as horizontal windows, this gives them the potential to admit a lot of excess heat into a building—40% more than vertical windows. They also allow more heat to escape in the winter. When investing in skylights, look for a system with the lowest Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and U-value possible, to ensure minimal heat loss and gain.
5. Factor in Health and Safety
Using natural lighting design to protect health and safety is another way to maximize your potential benefits. Ensuring that your lighting provides minimal glare can protect visual health and prevent stress-induced migraines, while increasing workplace exposure to natural light can aid in the prevention of a range of health conditions. Natural light also has the potential to decrease the chances of workplace injuries. Placing sources of bright, diffused light near areas where heavy machinery is used improves focus and visual sharpness. In some cases it has the potential to reduce worker’s compensation suits due to injury by a factor of 20.