Daylighting is the practice of allowing a controlled amount of natural light into a building to reduce electric lighting costs. A daylighting system includes skylights and windows along with a daylight-responsive lighting control system. Such a system can reduce energy costs by as a much as 33%.
The trick to designing an effective daylighting system is to provide enough daylight for your facility without any undesirable side effects. You need to balance heat gain and loss, glare control, and variations in daylight availability.
Daylighting designs need to carefully consider window placement as well as the use of shading devices to reduce glare and excess contrast in the workspace. Windows facing east and west tend to produce too much glare for daylighting purposes, whereas windows facing north and south can produce fantastic daylight effects in the US.
Here are some things to consider in a daylighting system for your facility.
Skylights and clerestory windows – Both allow light into the building without causing excess glare.
Interior finishes – A light-colored ceiling can help enhance the effects of daylighting. Clerestory windows can be used to redirect sunlight up to the ceiling to enhance this effect.
Window hoods – Can reduce glare and cut down on summer heat.
Tinted windows – We’ve covered window film in an earlier article, but treated windows can be an essential part of any effective daylighting scheme. Also, check out Smart Glass (electro chromic glass) which changes to keep heat energy with the brightness of sunlight during the day.
Light tubes – Also known as tubular daylighting devices, these pipes can direct sunlight through the roof of a structure to the interior.
Daylight-responsive electric lighting controls – These controls feature photosensors that assess the amount and quality of daylight and adjust the interior lighting system accordingly.
The most effective daylighting systems are integrated into new building designs, so it can often be hard to consider them for a retrofit project, but some of these systems (window hoods and even skylights) can be easily added to any facility.
For more information on incorporating daylighting into your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.