Despite their long history many building owners and designers are less likely to integrate skylights than artificial lighting. In part, this is due to the prevalence of sustainable electric lighting in the market, but is also due to the distrust of traditional skylights which were inefficient and allowed moisture to enter the building envelope. Modern skylights, however, eliminate these design issues.
Here are six reasons that you should consider using modern daylighting methods to integrate natural light into your building.
Increase Employee Productivity
Multiple studies have shown that incorporating natural light into a facility can increase worker productivity. A case study on productivity conducted by Lockheed Martin found that after installing skylights in one of their facilities “every minute less of wasted time per hour represents a 1.67% gain in productivity… where a 2% increase in productivity equates to $3 million saved [per year].” However, because exposure to sunlight is shown to increase focus while naturally decreasing stress, well-integrated daylighting can potentially increase workplace productivity by 6-16%.
Improve Retail Sales
Quality of light has been directly linked to sales in a retail setting, with natural light helping to provide far higher sales figures. A case study by Walmart showed that products displayed under natural sunlight are far more likely to be purchased than those displayed under artificial lighting, with consumers choosing the daylit product up to 40% more often. Not only that, but daylighting can encourage repeat customers. Studies have proven that a customer is more likely to shop at a daylit store, which they perceive as cleaner and more spacious, even if it is further from their home.
Reduce Employee Sick Days
Many studies have documented the effects natural light has upon physical health. From preventing conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rickets, and seasonal affective disorder, to maintaining a proper circadian rhythm, daily exposure to the sun is proven to keep employees healthier. The positive effects are so great that in some cases, it is capable of decreasing employee sick days throughout a facility by as much as 6.5%.
Lower Maintenance Costs
An unexpected source of costs for many facilities is the repair and replacement of electric lighting. This is because electric lighting burns out or loses intensity, often at an uneven rate. This means that not only will new bulbs and ballasts need to be brought periodically throughout the year, also requiring workers to come in and replace them, disrupting the workplace and negatively affecting productivity.
Minimize Carbon Footprint
In the commercial sector, lighting can account for 19% or more of a building’s total energy expenditure. While this may not seem like much, the environmental impact of this is actually astounding. This is because 67% of electricity in the US is produced by burning fossil fuels. Integrating artificial lighting can help reduce energy costs, which will in turn minimize your facility’s contribution to carbon emissions.
Cut Energy Costs
Well-integrated skylights can drastically cut costs in your facility. Because whatever electricity artificial lighting consumes that is not converted into light becomes heat, this adds up putting extra strain on buildings HVAC systems. Not only can skylights eliminate this heat generation, depending on the product they are capable of providing anywhere from four to 10.5+ hours of light per day while consuming zero energy. Overall, these combined benefits can cut energy usage by 50-80%.