5 New Reasons for You to Include Sustainable Lighting in Design Plans
By Torrin Greathouse | July 17, 2015
While incorporating sustainable lighting into your building design can markedly reduce your carbon footprint, for many, going “green” simply is not enough. What they do not realize are all of the other benefits sustainable lighting has to offer. If the old reasons for installing more efficient lighting are not attractive enough, here a five new reasons to add them to your design:
Improve Employee and Customer Health
The more we research it, the more we are slowly realizing how profound the effects of light quality are. Integrating natural light or full spectrum LEDs, which replicate natural light, into a facility has been shown to improve the health of the inhabitants. One study showed that exposure to daylight and outdoor views can actually reduce employee sick days by up to 6.5%. Other studies have shown that natural light can aid in the prevention of rickets, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and some autoimmune diseases.
Studies have also proved that lighting has a direct effect on worker productivity. This is, in part, because light is intrinsically tied to our circadian rhythms. Sunlight controls our energy levels and individual cycle of activity and rest. This means that dim lighting during the day, when our brains expect bright light, can create feelings of drowsiness and depression, which decreases productivity. On the other hand, exposure to natural light actually makes workers feel more rested and has been shown to markedly reduce stress levels.
Increase Retail Sales
Sustainable lighting has also been shown to help move products off of the shelves. In fact, well integrated daylighting has the potential to increase sales by 40% according to the Heschong Mahone Group. High quality light has also been proven to bring in more return customers than harsh artificial lighting. A great example of this preference for quality light comes from a study by Walmart, which found that customers were more likely to buy an item displayed in natural light, rather than a product shown under artificial light—even if the products were identical.
Reduce Maintenance Costs
In the United States, electric lighting consumes more energy than any other component of commercial buildings. In fact it accounts for as much as 40% of commercial energy use. This is because light bulbs are inefficient, some varieties wasting up to 90% of the electricity they consume, converting it into heat instead of light. This heat not only slowly degrades the bulbs, but also increases indoor temperatures, putting more strain on your HVAC system. More sustainably designed light sources eliminate this heat generation and by extension reduce the cost of replacement bulbs and HVAC system maintenance.
The cost of lighting is on the rise. Since 2014, the electricity cost (per kWh) in some U.S. states has increased by as much as 30%. Because of this, every hour spent lighting a building with inefficient bulbs wastes money. Commercial skylights and LEDs can dramatically slash your electricity use. If well integrated into a building design, skylights can provide lighting for as long as the sun is able to shine through them, with zero electricity consumption. Meanwhile LEDs are a sustainable lighting option that uses very little electricity, and generates almost zero heat.
Ciralight manufactures a unique solar-tracking skylight, the SunTracker, which combines solar-power and GPS technology to precisely track the sun with a set of mirrors and reflect sunlight into a building for 10.5 hours a day.
To learn more about how Ciralight SunTrackers can enhance your building design, contact our sales team today.
(Photo: thefuturistics, CC.)
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