How Top Natural Lighting Systems Keep Energy Costs Low
By Torrin Greathouse | June 02, 2016
Over the years, skylight have developed abad reputation for increasing energy costs. Modern natural lighting systems however, have been designed to counteract the issues associated with older skylight designs, and they are extremely effective at keeping building energy costs down.There are two major areas where they minimize electricity use.
Because artificial lighting has been the norm for so long, people rarely question how inefficient many artificial lighting methods are. Modern advancements such as well-manufactured LED lamps are far more efficient, but commonly used compact fluorescent and incandescent lamps waste up to 90% of the electricity they use. While artificial lighting is still needed to illuminate a facility at night, a well-designed natural lighting system can eliminate the need for electrical light during the day, providing bright, diffuse light for up to 10.5 hours per-day, during peak business hours. This can result in asavings of 40% on your daily lighting bill.
Heating and Cooling
The other major area where natural lighting can help reduce energy costs is in HVAC usage.
Electric Heat Generation
When artificial lighting wastes energy, most of that electricity is converted into heat instead of light. Buildings which use a lot of electric lighting can experience an unexpected excess of heat, forcing them to run HVAC systems to maintain a comfortable interior temperature. A study by the Energy Center of Wisconsin found that replacing electric lights with passive natural lighting canreduce climate control costs by up to 25% per-square-foot.
One of the issues that old-fashioned flat-pane skylights were criticized for was their inability to insulate againstheat gain and loss, which increased HVAC costs. Traditional skylights absorb four times the heat of vertical windows and allow 35-45% more heat to escape in winter months. Top modern systems are designed to minimize this heat loss and gain with diffuser lenses, mirrors, multiple lenses, and long light wells, ensuring lower HVAC costs.