Daylighting improves light, life inside buildings

Daylighting improves light, life inside buildings

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By Pete Shannin
Acuity Brands Lighting

Harvesting natural daylight inside the workplace or school can brighten the day and the bottom line.

The payback of daylight harvesting, leveraging skylights in conjunction with LED luminaires and lighting controls – reducing electric light load when skylights can make up the difference – can typically reduce electric lighting costs by 80 percent in retail, workplace and educational facilities.

Along with energy savings, studies show the human benefits of daylighting for building occupants are similarly enlightening: reduced absenteeism, improved overall well-being and improved productivity. This is because daylighting takes smart control of natural and electric light without disrupting the user’s environment and provides better full-spectrum light. 

Take education and retail as examples. A study initiated by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PGE) showed that students with the most daylighting in their classrooms progressed 20 percent faster on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests in one year than those with the least. Teachers and administrators enjoy such high performance, plus the results of reduced energy costs, less maintenance, better visibility and increased flexibility of how lighting is used in the classroom, gym and other spaces. In the retail space, daylighting increased sales by 40 percent in stores with skylights when compared to identical stores without skylights in the same study. Merchants can rely on using natural daylight to support merchandise displays and provide a better in-store experience for their customers.

Daylighting Illuminates financial and employee benefits

A manufacturing company obtained financial and employee benefits through better lighting when they built a warehouse with daylighting as an integral part of its design. As featured in a recent Eneref daylighting advocacy report, Karndean DesignFlooring, a vinyl tile manufacturer in Pittsburgh, Penn., embraced daylighting to cut energy costs and enhance employee satisfaction. The design team installed Sunoptics Signature series prismatic skylights, along with Lithonia Lighting IBL LED high bay luminaires and Acuity Controls, all from Acuity Brands.

Karndean’s holistic design approach to daylighting reaps the maximum benefits from natural light and energy savings. First of all, LEDs require less energy than the previous T8 fluorescent lights. Most importantly, however, Karndean’s new lighting system maximizes natural interior daylight via sensors that further reduce energy use by automatically dimming the LEDs based on the amount of daylight available. Furthermore, LED high bay fixtures include integrated controls and photo dimming sensors to not only reduce energy costs, but also help extend the life of lighting fixtures.

Karndean employees attest that installing this innovative lighting system significantly improves their work environment and their ability to best serve their customers. Karndean employees also confirmed that the subtle brightening or dimming of the LEDs is barely noticeable as the sunlight triggers the sensors to reduce or increase electric light output.

An integrated solution for uniform color in common spaces

Lighting technology continues to improve for heightened quality and aesthetics. Integrated lighting solutions can provide uniform color in common spaces such as offices, retail environments and education facilities. However, the ability to provide such a proposition utilizing daylighting has been limited until now.

As an example, Sunoptics Prismatic Skylights, recently launched the new LightFlex CCT concept, allowing architects and lighting designers to maintain consistency in their color specification while taking advantage of the unique benefits of natural daylight.

The LightFlex CCT is a tubular prismatic daylighting solution for suspended-ceiling applications. It uses a patented remote phosphor panel to integrate seamlessly with electric light fixtures in shared environments. The patented daylighting system achieves color temperatures similar to those in commercial lighting systems by minimizing the color temperature variation between the electric and natural light sources. The enhanced color quality creates a warmer, smoother, more uniform color.

Prismatic skylights can help architects, designers and builders achieve LEED v4 points and meet building energy codes and standards such asASHRAE Standard 90.1, IECC and IgCC.


Topics: Architectural Firms, Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Ceilings, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Daylighting / Skylights / Natural Lighting, Educational Buildings, Educational Buildings - Colleges and Universities, Electricity - Electrical and Energy Solutions, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Great Commercial Buildings, Interiors, Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting, Retail, Technology, Urban Planning and Design

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