9 Tips For Designing With Daylighting

By Jeff Brain | August 11, 2016

Many people think that incorporating daylighting into your building design is as simple as just installing a few skylights. In reality, it is a far more involved process. Choosing the wrong skylights or failing to take into account certain variables can end up increasing both lighting and HVAC costs, and decreasing workplace efficiency. Here are nine of our top tips for designing with daylight in your facility.

Account for Location

Pay close attention to the location and position of your building when designing your daylighting. Orienting your skylights towards the sun as it rises and sets will help to maximize the light your facility receives, while installing shades can help to reduce midday glare.

Design with Views in Mind

Views of nature are shown to increase productivity and create more positive feelings about the workplace. If possible, capitalize on nearby natural scenes by installing windows with smart blinds to bring in natural light and provide a view without creating unnecessary glare.

Maximize Roof Space

Because roof space can be used for a variety of energy efficient design elements, from green roofing to solar panels or solar water heaters, finding a daylighting design that consumes the minimal roof space, while providing the most light, is key. Traditional skylights use up to 10% of your roof space, while products like solar tracking skylights use closer to 1-2%.

Complement with Interior Design

Even if your lighting is perfectly designed, the interior design of your building can disrupt the flow of light. When designing the interior of your building and buying furniture keep lighting in mind.

Protect the Building Envelope

Ensuring that the skylights you select have been thoroughly tested for weather resistance and low heat transference is extremely important. Because installing skylights breaches the roof and ceiling of your building, failing to properly reseal that breach can result in elevated HVAC costs or expensive water damage.

Consider Multiple Solutions

In some cases, a single lighting system is sufficient to light your facility, however, in many cases combining daylighting strategies will have the most favorable results. Using light shelves along with overhead skylights helps provide diffuse light to the entire facility, while tubular skylights can be used to reach small, closed off areas that larger industrial skylights may not reach.

Plan Around Device Limitations

Every skylight system on the market has distinct advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to take these limitations into account for your design. While tubular skylights are excellent to circumventing ceiling level obstructions, they cannot easily illuminate large areas, while larger skylights designed for that task are often too large for offices and other small facilities.

Integrate Biophilic Design

Daylighting creates an excellent entry to biophilic design. Bringing natural light into your building helps to support plant features like green walls which can help reduce HVAC costs by reducing interior temperature and naturally filtering contaminants out of the air.  

Don’t Invest Without Research

It is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the options on the market, but jumping for the first solution you find can be a costly mistake. Take your time and compare your options side by side before deciding. This will help ensure a more efficiently designed, more comfortable, and more cost effective final design.

To learn more about the different systems available on the market, download our eBook A Guide to Selecting the Best Skylight Solution for Commercial Buildings.


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