5 Key Insights from a Daylighting Expert

By Torrin Greathouse | November 19, 2015

Chip Israel is one of the world’s leading lighting design professionals. With more than 30 years of experience in the field of lighting design, he is also the founder of the Lighting Design Alliance, which has received over 60 national and international design awards. Some of Chip’s high profile work includes the First Interstate World Tower, UCLA Site Lighting Master Plan, the Oakley Technical Center, and three sites for Disney, including the Wilderness Lodge, All Star Resort, and the Disney Institute.

Recently we had the chance to ask Chip a few key questions about daylighting, and here is what he had to say:

What are your top three daylighting products currently?

First, obviously, would be windows. When positioned properly they can work well, assuming there is glare control. Right now most of our clients are in the hospitality industry, as opposed to more commercial industries, so their buildings are not as suited to true daylighting applications—except for the new LAX terminal we designed. So in general, it would be Ciralight SunTrackers or Solatubes, as a tie for 2nd and 3rd.

What do you think the future of daylighting will be?

As most energy code officials agree, we are pretty much at the floor of watts/square foot for installed lighting, and our wattage is as low as it can go for now until there is a significant new technological breakthrough. As we are still under mandatory compliance to get to carbon neutral in only 15 years, lighting controls, which turn off lighting in unoccupied rooms, and additional daylighting will be the only ways to get there. It will be forced adoption, so it is better for building owners to understand and adopt the technology now.

How do you envision industrial skylights can be incorporated into a building as an aesthetic element of design?

I do believe that there could be two options. One is operable skylights to help vent spaces, but these are mechanically problematic. The second is the integration of downlighting into the skylights to minimize installation costs as you would need to install one system versus two. Obviously it would create a cleaner ceiling aesthetic, so it would work in offices and retail facilities, as well as commercial warehouses.

How have you seen consumers’ mindsets about daylighting and other sustainable lighting change over time?

All positively. There is no doubt that people like the well-being aspects of daylighting, and the energy savings are also beneficial, too. Historically, there was the issue of leakage, but that was based upon 50 year old technology and installation methods, all of which are eliminated now.

What advice do you have for businesses looking to incorporate daylighting into their facilities?

Think Big! Instead of a few skylights, shoot for daylight autonomy, so that all of the electric lights can be turned off during the daylight hours. If that is not achievable, incorporate simple photocells and real-time daylight dimming, it will pay for itself.

To learn more about the benefits of incorporating daylight into your building design download our eBook The Power of Daylighting in Building Design.

(Photo: Joe Shlabotnik, CC.)

Download The Power of Daylighting In Building Design

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