How To Reduce Indoor Cooling Costs With Daylighting

By Torrin Greathouse | August 23, 2016

While reduced heating and cooling costs are rarely the first thing people associate with daylighting, in part because older skylights actually dramatically increased them, it can actually be a powerful tool for reducing facility HVAC costs. Not only does it reduce exterior heat penetrating the building envelope, it also eliminates the need for electric lighting which generates surplus waste heat.

Protect Building Envelope

Unlike traditional skylights, modern daylighting technology is designed to minimize heat gain and loss. Through the use of insulated light wells, light tubes, and double paned design, these solutions minimize the effect of outside temperature on the air inside a facility. When selecting a system it is important to look for a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and U-value as close to zero as possible. These values represent how much heat a skylight absorbs into and releases from a building, respectively. According to the Energy Center of Wisconsin the switch from artificial bulbs to well insulated daylighting can reduce cooling costs by 25%.

Reduce Waste Heat

Many forms of artificial lighting are extremely inefficient, converting a significant percentage of the electricity they consume into heat rather than light. The level of inefficiency ranges from 90% of electricity becoming waste heat for incandescents and around 50% for compact fluorescents, to far less for LEDs. Switching out inefficient electric lamps for a well-designed daylighting system can significantly reduce the workload on your cooling system, minimizing electrical usage and wear and tear on the system.

Minimize Maintenance Costs

While it is not directly tied to the cost of using HVAC systems, incorporating daylighting can help to minimize maintenance costs. If your heating and cooling is forced to run constantly to maintain a comfortable interior temperature, the system will be far more likely to break down. This generates extra costs not just for the parts and labor, but also the lost productivity in your facility while the system is being repaired,

If you are interested in integrating daylighting into your facility to cut HVAC costs but aren’t sure which system to choose, download our eBook A Guide to Selecting the Best Skylight Solution for Commercial Buildings.

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