Many facilities around the world integrate daylighting into their design to help cut operating costs and become more energy efficient. Most people do not realize the multitude of different ways skylights can help you save. Below are five key ways that the right natural lighting system can help to reduce costs in a wide number of areas.
Protect Employee Health
Health is rarely the first thing people think of when the topic of lighting comes up yet surprisingly the quality of light in a building can have a major impact on employee health. Many artificial light sources produce light in the high-blue spectrum, which can contribute to insomnia and seasonal affective disorder. Natural light, on the other hand, improves mood and focus, while aiding in the prevention of pre-diabetes, rickets, multiple sclerosis, and some autoimmune diseases.
Boost Worker Productivity
Studies have shown that incorporating natural light into a facility can increase worker productivity. After installing skylights in one of their facilities a case study conducted by Lockheed Martin found that “every minute less of wasted time per hour represents a 1.67% gain in productivity… where a 2% increase in productivity equates to $3 million saved [per year].” This is because exposure to natural light is shown to both increase focus and decrease stress. Well-integrated daylighting has the potential to increase overall productivity by 6-16%.
Reduce Maintenance Costs
Another unexpected form of savings that skylights can provide is a reduction in repair and maintenance costs. Most forms of artificial lighting can experience both bulb and ballast burnout, and if these lights are installed at the same time, they have high odds of failing simultaneously as well. This is not to say all daylighting systems are perfect; for example, poorly-insulated systems risk high repair costs due to mold and other moisture damage. Conversely, the best systems are designed to avoid weather damage as well as regular wear and tear. When selecting your daylighting products, look for certifications for weather resistance and lifespan testing to ensure your skylights will last.
Minimize HVAC Usage
The issue with many older artificial lighting solutions is that they actually produce waste-heat. Whatever electricity they consume that is not converted into light typically becomes heat. This can add up and can have a major effect on the internal temperature of a building, which in turn, puts extra strain on its HVAC systems. Investing in a well-designed daylighting system can help to reduce this waste-heat, while also minimizing the heat gain and loss some skylights can create.
Eliminate Electric Lighting Costs
Generally , the primary reason to integrate daylighting is to reduce your artificial lighting use. The cost of electricity per kilowatt/hour has been increasing for several years, and continues to rise. The right daylighting system can light your facility for up to 10.5+ hours per day, reducing your reliance on electric lighting. This can result in an overall reduction of energy use for lighting of 50-80%