>> What Is Daylighting?
>> Active Daylighting
>> Enhanced Human Experience
>> The "Green" Incentive
>> Educational Solutions
>> Health Contributions
>> Environmental Accountability
What is Daylighting? Daylighting is the art and science of bringing sunlight indoors.
The increased visibility of the term "daylighting" in our lexicon could allow one to claim daylighting as the newest and hottest topic in the green building movement. Though it may be true that daylighting is becoming an increasingly hot topic, it’s certainly nothing new, having been around since the first man carved a hole out of a solid wall to welcome in the sun.
What is Daylighting?
While technology has changed over time, all buildings receive varying amounts of sunlight from windows or skylights, but the designation 'daylit,' however, specifically refers to buildings designed or retrofitted to exercise daylight as an effective lighting source.
Until recently, daylighting has been a very passive technique, with most skylights and windows acting only as a lens between the outdoors and indoors. Today, Ciralight has the innovative technology to actively bring vibrant sunlight into a building in the most cost effective manner possible.
Active Daylighting: Don’t be fooled: Not all "Daylighting" solutions are the same.
95% of available systems are passive in nature - meaning they use static, non-moving/tracking systems unable to adjust for the sun’s angle throughout the day; creating uneven lighting, roaming hot spots, and obtrusive glare.
Active Daylighting System
Active Daylighting is a system that mechanically tracks the sun throughout the day and redirects sunlight inside buildings at an intensity that allows artificial lighting to be turned off. Ciralight's active daylighting system significantly out performs passive systems when comparing the amount of daylight directed into a building; upwards of 300% more.
What does this mean?
- Active Daylighting brings in bright, natural sunlight indoors enhances human health and experience
- Active Daylighting's sustainable design increases ‘green’ economic incentives and savings
- Active Daylighting reduces electrical dependence and boosts environmental accountability
The cost of people in buildings is often 75 - 100 times greater than the cost of utility bills.
Prior to Edison's development of a practical, commercially viable electric lighting system, people spent most of their waking hours outdoors underneath Vitamin D-rich sunlight. Now, with artificial light available everywhere 24 hours a day, this has changed dramatically in the last 100 years with people spending most of their lives indoors beneath poor, unhealthy lighting conditions.
Steve Ternoey, a respected author and principal of LightForms, LLC, a California architectural firm specializing in daylight design, estimates that "the cost of people in buildings is often 75 - 100 times greater than the cost of utility bills".1
According to Carnegie Melon University's Intelligent Workplace design studio, cutting energy use by 50% in a typical building usually saves about $1 per square foot. Boosting productivity in that same building by 5%, on the other hand, saves more than $10 per square foot.2
Both of these figures above suggest that the savings gained from even a small increase in human productivity can far exceed the savings gained through a large reduction in a building's energy consumption.
Enhanced Experience | Why Daylighting?
Research also shows that:
- Retail sales increase an average of 10% to 40% with the implementation of daylighting
- School grades increase from 6% to 20% when compared to non day lit classrooms
- Industrial savings include less absenteeism, higher productivity, better safety records
For more information regarding these and similar findings, refer to our Research Studies section.
1: 20-Year Cost of Owning and Operating an Office Building Source: Ternoey, S.E. et al, The Design of Energy Responsive Commercial Buildings, John Wiley & Sons, 1985
2: The non-profit Center for Energy &Climate Solutions' Cool Companies website, www.coolcompanies.org, 2002.
With energy rates at an all time high and approximately two-thirds of electricity attributed to Lighting, Fans, and Cooling in traditional buildings, Active Daylighting makes dollars and sense.
A growing number of tax incentives and subsidies are becoming available from local utilities and governments for the implementation of daylighting systems in association with new laws being passed requiring buildings to meet higher standards of energy efficiency. For example, in California, Title 24 requires buildings of 25,000+ sq ft. and a minimum 15 ft. height to illuminate at least 50% of their floor space with natural daylighting.
Search the virtual library at www.dsireusa.org (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency) to find out which Federal, State, and Local tax credits, rebates, and incentives you are eligible for.
The 'Green' Incentive | Why Daylighting?
Utility companies are now designing new rates to reflect the increasing changes in energy efficient technologies. One California utility recently threatened its customers to triple peak usage rates!1 Interestingly though, these inflated rates are imposed during the middle of the day when it is easiest to take advantage of daylighting. Actions like this by utility companies are helping to catapult the social acceptance of daylighting systems, while at the same time greatly improving the time-frame for the return on investment of the initial purchase
How much of a difference can daylighting make?
High-end clothing manufacturer Patagonia recently furnished their distribution center in Reno, Nevada with Ciralight's Smart Skylights to reduce electricity consumption. Upon installation, the facility's need for artificial lighting dropped by two-thirds and operating costs, including HVAC, fell by a third. One reason for this reduction in operating costs is that the spectral content of natural light produces about 2.5 times as many lumens per kWh of cooling load than electric lighting does.2
Wall Street is taking notice of the Green trend as well. According to a recent Fortune magazine article on CNNmoney.com, "In addition to chasing investment opportunities in areas like renewable energy, alternative fuels and carbon trading, investment banks are slowly ‘greening-up’ their own facilities with energy-saving systems."
The article also notes that, "Going green has PR value, and helps a firm's recruitment efforts, but it's more than a marketing tool: Based on a recent analysis by the U.S. Green Business Council, the aggregate total return of publicly held companies affiliated with the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) outperformed the Dow by over 18 percent from 2000 to 2004."3
Return On Investment (ROI)
Ciralight has developed a form to calculate the return on the initial purchase of Smart Skylights based on business/building variables affected by daylighting. Typically, the return on investment through energy savings alone is generally 15% to 35% or more, depending on a number of factors (% of sunny days, latitude, cost per kWh, days of operation, tax rate, government and/or utility rebates, peak kWh rates, etc). However, once additional components such as increased productivity and reduced absenteeism are factored in, the actual return can quickly and easily eclipse this.
Find out more about our Return on Investment form and how quickly you can expect your purchase of Smart Skylights to pay itself back by downloading our CLG ROI Questionnaire and returning to us, or by Contacting Us today.
3: “Wall Street’s Green Machine” Money.CNN.com, 10/26/2006
Daylighting makes the grade in schools. Children intuitively know daylight is good for them and respond accordingly.
Daylighting in schools has been proven to significantly increase students' test scores and promote better health and physical development.
An extensive study conducted by the Heschong Mahone Group analyzed the test scores of more than 21,000 students in three school districts in California (Capistrano), Washington (Seattle), and Colorado (Fort Collins). The study showed that students with the highest quality daylighting in their classrooms “progressed 20% faster on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests in one year when compared to students in the least daylit classrooms.”1
Another study conducted in North Carolina compared the test scores for over 1,200 students in daylit schools to the test scores of students in the county as a whole. Findings showed that students who attended schools in daylit classrooms outperformed the students in non-daylit classrooms by 5-14%.2
Educational Daylighting Solutions
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that researchers in Sweden have concluded "work in classrooms without daylight may upset the basic hormone pattern of growing children, influencing the children's ability to concentrate or cooperate, and also eventually have an impact on annual physical development, health, and absenteeism.”2
These findings are not only favorable for students (and their parents) but also for the schools as well, who often receive funding from state and federal boards based on student performance and annual attendance; both of which are optimized by Ciralight Global’s active daylighting systems.
1: Heschong Mahone Group, "Daylighting in Schools" Report (www.h-w-g.com)1999.
2: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Report, " Daylighting in Schools: Improving Student Performance and Health at a Price Schools can Afford, "2000.
"Mal-illumination is to light as malnutrition is to food."
Natural daylight is an inseparable element in our lives; linking vital biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes to the chronology of the Earth through our Circadian clock. The human circadian rhythm regulates, or plays an influential role in, biological functions such as sleep, appetite, alertness, cell regeneration, hormone secretion, and more.1
"Mal-illumination" is a condition coined by light researcher, Dr. John Ott, resulting from a deficiency in natural sunlight and the subsequent effects of this on human health, performance, and longevity. In depth research has cited 'sunlight and vitamin D deficiency' as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.2 Put simply, "Mal-illumination is to light as malnutrition is to food."
Health Contributions | Why Daylighting?
According to a recent study, Americans spend 85%-95% of time indoors. With fluorescent lighting currently being used as a primary light source in 92% of commercial buildings 3, and the vast majority of people spending an average of 7.5 hours per day at work4, it is very likely that we all suffer from mal-illumination to varying degrees because we do not get enough exposure to sunlight daily.
Finally, hospitals have noted faster healing times, by as much as 11%, in patients with access to natural light.5 Not only that, but the U.S. Dept. of Energy found that employees who sit near direct daylight in their workplace show 20% fewer symptoms common to people within “sick buildings."6
5: CADDET Energy Efficiency Newsletter, 2000
6: Smart Business from ZDWire, August 14, 2000
When you use less electricity, it’s more than just a couple of lights turned off and fewer kilowatt-hours recorded on your monthly statements...
It’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the consumption of natural resources. It’s what the world needs right now.
Artificial lighting accounts for 30-35% of electricity use in the commercial sector and 10% in the industrial sector of the United States. However, it is estimated that almost half of commercial lighting is potentially wasted for few employees/patrons over a large floor area, which translates environmentally to over 700 million barrels of unnecessary oil use per year in the United States alone. Read about Natural Capitalism to learn more.
Environmental Accountability | Why Daylighting?
Also, 68% of U.S. electricity comes from either coal-fired or petroleum based generating plants. Ciralight is proud to be part of a solution that reduces greenhouse gases and slows fossil fuel depletion by significantly cutting down the electricity needs for lighting and cooling.
One shining example of environmental success is Wal-Mart, who helped cut an estimated 618,200 pounds of atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide, 1,793 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and 1,076 pounds of sulfur dioxide from being produced annually through the implementation of energy efficient solutions, including active daylighting.