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.
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.
We often discuss the benefits of natural lighting for industrial or commercial buildings, however, they also offer a range of benefits for hospitals and other medical facilities. Despite this, many hospitals rely largely on artificial lighting.
In 2014, the Building Energy Exchange founded an international Daylight Hour, asking businesses to turn off electric lighting in all areas of their offices that are reached by sunlight for a single hour—from noon to 1pm. The event was started in order to raise awareness about how the use of natural daylight, rather than electric lighting, can reduce our carbon footprint. Last year more than 300 businesses participated, reaching nearly six million people in 14 countries through social media. This year’s Daylight Hour event will take place on June 17th.
Daylighting provides free and abundant natural light during the day, which reduces artificial, electric light usage. The savings from a high quality daylighting are so great that they pay off their investment within a few years.
One reason why businesses are implementing daylighting methods in their building designs is a desire to break from their dependence on utility companies for lighting. Natural light brings a business closer to energy independence. It strengthens a business by allowing its leaders to predict the average price for lighting, to gain direct control over lighting access, and to reduce electrical costs that would otherwise be increased by inefficient electric lights.
In 2014, 19% of all the electricity consumed by the commercial sector was used for lighting alone. The lighting systems that a facility uses can have a drastic effect on its operating costs, and when you consider that the price of electricity has been steadily rising, increasing by 63% since 2003, this can have a dramatic effect on overhead costs. Replacing electric light fixtures with well-integrated natural lighting is one of the surest ways to reduce electricity use.
Daylighting systems reduce the need for artificial electric lights by efficiently bringing the sun’s rays into an interior building space. The top three systems on the market today offer distinct benefits as well as drawbacks in lighting and overall efficiency. In order to ensure that you purchase the product that will have the greatest advantages for your space, it is necessary first to understand their differences and then judge which to choose.
Daylighting is a lighting design method which utilizes natural light to illuminate an interior space. It enhances the aesthetics of building design while making rooms feel more pleasant. It is also well-known for making a business more sustainable in the short and the long-term, but it may not be immediately apparent why this is the case. The ways daylight design makes a business more financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable are outlined below.