Over the last two decades, and particularly in the last decade, there’s been a massive drive across a range of countries to improve the energy efficiency of both homes and commercial buildings.
Part of the greater importance of energy efficiency is due to the rising cost of energy in many cities and states. Another reason, however, is a commitment to improving the environmental impact of homes and places of business.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your business’s energy consumption – as well as a fantastic way to improve its environmental impact and increase its productivity – is by switching from artificial lighting to natural daylighting.
In this guide, we’ll share four ways that you can make the transition from an energy-dependent lighting system to a natural daylighting system for your business without facing any delays, issues or potential roadblocks.
Before you begin, carry out an energy audit
Just like your business should audit its spending to find out where money can be saved, you should carry out an annual energy audit to find out how your business can save energy.
Energy audits let you identify key points of energy consumption – electrical tools and equipment, lighting, HVAC systems and more – and spot opportunities to cut your business’s total expenditure on energy.
Without an audit, it’s possible to make small reductions in energy. However, the exact knowledge of understanding where you’re spending the most energy gives your business the ability to make informed, deliberate changes.
Start small to make the transition easier
If your workplace is currently heavily dependent on artificial lighting – for example, it’s a single-story office complex built during the late 20th century – it might take an extensive amount of renovations before it’s fully designed for daylight.
Going from one extreme – heavily dependent on artificial lighting – to another can be an expensive process. It can also result in efficiency issues for your business, as your building may require extensive renovations that take quite some time.
If you’d like to get started with daylighting, take a small step first. Installing one or two skylights in your office is often all it takes to produce a significant impact, and doing so is far faster (and less expensive) than carrying out a larger project.
Use the Pareto Principle to achieve quick, big wins
The Pareto Principle is a business principle that dictates that 80% of your results will stem from 20% of your actions. The same is true with daylighting – one large window or skylight can have the same effect as four, provided it’s placed well.
A key principle in energy efficiency is focusing on the small changes – the 20% of your actions, in this case – that can produce the 80% changes in efficiency for your business. These are often surprisingly simple, easy changes to make.
From installing new blinds to reduce glare or a UV treatment system to reduce the level of heat transfer from your windows and skylights, the small and inexpensive changes can often have the biggest effects for your business.
Don’t neglect artificial light – use it to complement sunlight
Workplaces that are entirely dependent on artificial light tend to be less productive, less healthy and far less energy efficient than their natural counterparts. While this shows the value of natural light, it doesn’t mean artificial lighting is always bad.
Many of the world’s most energy efficient buildings use a combination of artificial and natural lighting. Doing so for your business can make it easier to make gradual changes towards a more energy efficient lighting system.
Don’t think of daylighting as meaning the complete replacement of artificial lighting in your workplace. Instead, use artificial light to “fill in the gaps” in your workplace and make the transition to an energy efficient lighting system easier.