Daylighting: A Simple Way to Cut Electricity Costs

Mar 15, 2011 No Comments by

Have you seen the light? Or, more accurately, the daylighting?

Increasingly, businesses are turning to architectural and window styles designed to daylight, or use natural light, as a replacement for the illumination provided by costly electricity.

When done right, daylighting is a combination of art and science. A proper job is dependent on a number of factors, including the geographic region, building type and building orientation, but all properly day-lit buildings have these benefits in common:

  • They cut down on the poorly directed heat generated by electricity, and ultimately allow building owners to downsize their air conditioning systems, saving money in the long run.
  • They are simple to design. There are several standard designs that can be tweaked and adapted to fit most offices, schools or industrial sites. For more information on these designs you can contact The Daylighting Collaborative online at www.daylighting.org.
  • They ensure that a space never gets too hot by effectively screening out 99 percent of all solar heat. At the same time, they produce approximately 50 foot-candles of light per building, which is more than adequate to perform most work tasks.
  • They prevent glare with the careful placement of windows, shading devices and low-transmittance glass, all techniques that block direct sunlight.
  • They do not require a building to be all glass or to have clear glass windows—instead they use windows with specific performance characteristics such as solar heat gain coefficient and visible light transmittance.
  • They work even on cloudy days. Even a sky that is completely overcast provides 5,000 to 6,000 foot-candles of illumination—one hundred times more light than is needed for a daylit building.

As energy costs rise higher and higher, it makes sense to consider daylighting as an alternative to the illumination provided by electricity. A little effort now can have a tremendous impact on the ledgers down the road.

Families, Home Services, Windows

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