8 Important Questions to Ask About Daylighting Systems
By Jeff Brain | February 06, 2018
When evaluating multiple daylighting systems, it is helpful to make comparisons between the same sets of information given for each daylighting system so you can objectively decide which one is right for your building. Of course you want to know the cost, but like most major purchasing decisions, this is not the only factor to consider. Quality, performance, and long-term savings are also important.
Before you start to gather information about daylighting systems from different manufacturers, compile a list of questions you want answered so you can be ready to ask for all the data you need to know about the skylight system you are interested in.
What to Ask When Considering Daylighting Systems
As you explore your options for different daylighting products, ask the following questions:
1. How many hours of natural light can the system deliver?
One of the primary objectives of installing daylighting systems is to reduce the number of hours that electrical lighting is required. Therefore, you want a system that delivers the greatest duration of natural light throughout the day.
2. What is the U-factor?
The U-factor of an industrial skylight tells you about its thermal transmittance, or how much heat can escape from your building to the outdoors through the daylighting system. This is important because it can impact your heating and cooling costs if too much heat is transferred. When comparing U-factors for different daylighting systems, a lower number is better.
3. What is the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC)?
Like the U-factor, the SHGC tells you how the system will impact HVAC use. SHGC measures the amount of solar heat your building will absorb from the sun through the daylighting system. Again, a lower number is better because it means that less solar heat gain occurs.
4. How many units are necessary to achieve the desired lighting?
Every unit you install will impact the upfront cost of your daylighting systems. If you provide your project details and request a lighting plan, each manufacturer should be able to tell you how many units you need to meet your lighting goals.
5. How much roof space is required for each unit?
The less that you can disrupt the roof of your building, the better. Taking up less area on the roof means you have more room for solar installations, mechanical units, and structural features.
6. What is the cost of installation?
Don’t assume that the installation costs are the same for all types of daylighting systems. The number of skylights required will impact the installation costs as well, so make sure you know how much it costs to install each unit if you have not yet decided on the total number.
7. What is the expected return on investment?
If one of the reasons you are implementing daylighting systems is to save money in the long run, you want to know just how long that is going to be. Ask each manufacturer the estimated time it will take to recoup your upfront costs. Factors that play a role in this calculation include the total cost of equipment and installation, estimated hours of natural light per day, electricity costs, and HVAC use.
8. Who uses your daylighting systems?
Any good manufacturer of daylighting systems will be able to provide examples of companies that use their products. If they have case studies and testimonials, read them to get a sense of the benefits each customer received after implementing the system.
If you are considering Ciralight SunTrackers, you can find the answers to most of the questions in our Learning Center. When you are ready, you can request pricing or contact our sales team to learn more about installing SunTrackers in your facility.
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