Minimizing Overhead Costs with Commercial Skylights
By Torrin Greathouse | August 17, 2017
One of the major reasons that many people integrate commercial skylights in their businesses is to reduce their reliance on artificial lighting.This can help a facility to maintain lower overall energy costs. However, this is not the only way in which daylighting can help minimize energy costs, or overall overhead.
Below are a few of the ways that skylights can help cut costs.
Many artificial lights have the potential to increase interior temperature by generating waste heat, while traditional windows and skylights allow the light outside of a building to heat the air inside. One study found that flat-pane skylights allow four times the heat gain of vertical windows. This can be minimized by integrating skylights with a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient to not only minimize electric lighting use, but to create a more comfortable environment. A study by the US Navy found that on their own, commercial skylights could reduce energy use for cooling by 47% and for ancillary equipment such as fans by up to 31%.
Heat loss can also be an important source of increased costs, allowing 35-45% more heat to escape the building envelope than traditional windows. When selecting a commercial skylight, make sure the U-value is 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, making the switch from artificial bulbs to well insulated daylighting can reduce cooling costs by 25%.
Unlike daylighting, artificial lighting also has high associated repair costs. This is because bulbs and ballasts burn out requiring replacement, while overworked HVAC systems have a tendency 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. Skylights on the other hand, do not have the potential to wear out over time like other systems and rarely, if ever, need repairs.
Reduced Lighting Use
No matter how energy efficient an artificial lighting system is, it still requires a constant supply of energy. Replacing artificial lights with commercial skylights allows facilities to reduce their reliance on electricity and cut costs dramatically. A well-designed daylighting system can help you turn off electric lighting for 6-10 hours per day, reducing building lighting costs by 50 to 80%. This is also, often times, better quality light than , which increases worker productivity and customer satisfaction while providing many other human centric benefits.