What Business Benefits Does Natural Lighting Bring?
By Torrin Greathouse | August 21, 2015
While the buzzwords have changed from year to year, there has been a movement growing for the last 60 years pushing for more environmentally sustainable buildings. As this movement has gained speed, building codes have grown stricter in terms of sustainability and many tax incentives have been offered for incorporating more sustainable building design. While some business owners see this as pushing them toward spending excess money on sustainable building upgrades, they rarely realize the benefits these upgrades can offer their business.
One major sustainable change business owners can make to their buildings is incorporating natural lighting. Here are three key benefits which natural light can create for businesses.
Multiple studies have been published on the benefits of natural lighting in the workplace. It is shown to increase employee moods, decrease absenteeism, and enhance the efficiency with which employees complete tasks. One study by the Heschong Mahone Group found that exposure to natural sunlight throughout the day can actually increase worker productivity by 6-16%.
Raises Sales Figures
Using natural lighting also offers specific benefits for retail applications. An analysis of multiple retail stores by PG&E actually found that stores which incorporate daylighting experience 40% higher sales, on average, than those which do not. Similarly, an internal study conducted by Walmart found that if an identical item were sold in a daylit and a non-daylit section of the store, the items in natural light would sell significantly better.
Reduces Energy Usage
Perhaps the most significant benefit well integrated natural lighting can offer is a huge reduction in energy usage. In 2005, the Energy Center of Wisconsin found that passive daylighting alone can reduce monthly electricity costs associated with lighting and HVAC by around 22%. Active daylighting, in comparison, can reduce costs by up to 80%. This reduction in energy consumption not only lowers building operation costs, but also helps efficient natural lighting systems offer a fast return on investment (ROI).
Ciralight produces a solar tracking skylight, the SunTracker. This active daylighting system uses a combination of solar power and GPS technology to angle a set of mirrors, reflecting natural sunlight into a building for up to 10.5 hours a day. These efficient skylights reduce electrical lighting and HVAC costs so much that they are able to provide an ROI of just 2.5-4 years.