5 Top Ways to Bring Low Risk Natural Lighting Into Your Building
By Torrin Greathouse | October 12, 2017
The quality of natural light illuminating a space depends on the kind of daylighting product you choose to incorporate into the building design. For some businesses looking to add natural light to the interior, one product alone will be sufficient, but for others, multiple products may be needed.
Also known as switchable glass or smart glass, these windows control the amount of sunlight that enters into a room. They are made of material that can become tinted to reduce glare and heat gain, which makes building occupants feel comfortable at all times of the day. Some products are designed to change the opacity when the sunlight hits it, while others are controlled with a switch or an application on a smartphone.
Exterior Shades Systems
Placed on the outside of the building envelope, exterior shades block light from entering windows during peak hours of the day. They can be either fixed or motorized and come in a variety of materials such as wood, concrete, metal, and fabric. During the hours when sunlight would enter the building directly, they reduce heat gain and harsh glare. Because of the minimal cost, these offer a low risk option for both new buildings and retrofit projects.
These are reflective, horizontal surfaces placed above eye level and integrated with windows to reflect daylight onto the ceiling and deep into a room. They are maintenance-free and provide shade from harsh rays of the afternoon sun, while at the same time bringing in diffuse natural light.
Designed for toplighting in residential or small commercial spaces, these skylights consist of a clear compact dome which is mounted on the roof and connected to a flexible and reflective light tube. Tubular skylights bring natural light down and around ceiling-level obstructions in order to brighten the building interior. The tube also traps heat from entering a building and reduces glare.
Solar Tracking Skylights
Designed for all day long toplighting in large buildings, solar tracking skylights use a solar powered GPS unit under the clear dome to track the sun and keep three reflective mirrors in perfect alignment with the it’s movement across the sky. The mirrors are able to reflect the sun’s rays down into the building from sunrise to sunset. The reflective lightwell that funnels the natural light into the building acts like a dual pane window by trapping heat and cold, and the specially glazed diffuser lenses spread light evenly over wide spaces.
Incorporating natural lighting products into a building design may seems like a costly endeavor, but it is a low risk, high reward decision that can save large amounts of money for a business in the long-run.
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