Why More and More Industrial Facilities Rely On Natural Light
By Jeff Brain | April 21, 2016
In the past, industrial facilities typically relied on either linear fluorescent bulbs or high intensity discharge lamps (HIDs) for illumination. Recently, however, companies have begun to implement more natural light in their facilities.
Here are just a few of the reasons that this trend has become more widespread.
Eliminates Physical Waste
A major issue that linear fluorescent bulbs and HIDs present is that they burn out over time. This generates additional costs for facilities to replace and properlydispose of burned out bulbs. In 2010 alone, 128,625,000 linear fluorescents and 14,155,000 HIDs were used to illuminate industrial facilities. Each one creates an additional expense for the purchase and disposal of bulbs, plus the cost of hiring workers to replace bulbs and repair damaged fixtures and the lost productivity in areas of the building where lamps are being repaired. Natural lighting does not create any of these additional expenses.
Diffuse natural light in the workplace is proven to increase worker productivity. A study by the Heschong Mahone Group found that workers under daylight had improved levels of productivity and cognitive sharpness when compared to those under artificial lighting. This increase is linked to an elevated sense of morale and well-being in naturally lit facilities, which create “non-specific positive positive environmental feelings” in their occupants.
Improves Health & Prevents Injuries
Many studies show that exposure to the natural changes of light throughout the day can have a powerful positive effect on health. While overexposure to the blue spectrum light produced by fluorescent and LED lighting can disrupt workers’ circadian rhythms and lead to insomnia, seasonal affective disorder, and diabetes, natural light is proven to aid in theprevention of a range of ailments. The higher quality natural light also improves visibility and, in facilities which use dangerous heavy machinery, decreases worker’s compensation suits by a factor of 20.
Reduces Electrical Costs
Replacing artificial lighting with natural light is shown to drastically reduce a building's electrical costs. Well-designed skylights not only eliminate the need for electrical lighting during the day, they also insulate a building to prevent heat gain and loss. Because they do not use inefficient bulbs, they do not generate electrical heat waste that ends up requiring facilities to run their HVAC systems to maintain a comfortable temperature. The combination ofreduced lighting and HVAC costs with natural lighting can create electrical savings of up to 80%.