To many businesses, daylighting is viewed as a luxury that only the sunniest states can afford. Looking at energy efficiency statistics largely confirms this view – after all, states like California, Arizona and Florida lead the US in energy efficiency.
The link between sunny weather and energy efficiency, however, isn’t quite a strong as many energy efficiency skeptics believe it is. While California is incredibly energy efficient, so are notoriously cloudy states like Massachusetts and Washington.
Energy efficient daylighting is by no means limited to sunny areas. In fact, many of the world’s most energy efficient cities – from infamously rainy London to cloudy Seattle – have limited sunshine hours even at the peak of summer.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the topic of daylighting in regions without the year-round sunny weather of San Diego or Phoenix. If you live in a cloudy and think that daylighting may not be suitable for your business, keep reading.
You don’t need constant sunlight for an efficient office
There’s a common belief among business owners that daylighting systems are only efficient in very bright, sunny regions. The reality, however, is that daylighting has a huge range of positive effects even in cities with relatively cloudy weather.
Study the world’s most energy efficient cities and you’ll notice that, despite the all-too-common idea that sunny cities lead the way, many of the world’s most energy efficient cities are renowned for their moderate, cloudy climates.
From London to Vancouver, Portland to Boston, many of the world’s most energy efficient cities receive little in terms of sunlight. Even in moderate weather, light is still ample enough for energy efficient daylighting to be highly effective.
Whether your city is overcast or rainy for most of the year, daylighting can still have huge benefits. In fact, daylighting is often just as effective in overcast weather as it is in direct sunlight, particularly for creating a comfortable work environment.
Diffuse lighting is often best for workplace productivity
One of the biggest fears of many businesses regarding daylighting is glare. Although glare is easy to control, many offices are fearful of being flooded with too much light and losing productivity.
In this sense, overcast weather isn’t a disadvantage, but an opportunity to light your office naturally without having to worry about glare. Without direct sunlight during the daytime, getting the most from your daylighting system is relatively simple.
As the success of daylighting in cities like London and Portland indicates, there’s no need for constant sunshine for steady light. Daylight is easily supplemented with an artificial lighting system that “fills the gaps” on rainy or overcast days.
Even if your city isn’t constantly sunny, your business can experience huge benefits from daylighting. The right system can light your office, increase staff productivity and significantly reduce your ongoing energy consumption and expenses.
Even moderate light is better than no natural light at all
Daylighting is often thought of as an all-in-one lighting option for businesses. In the brightest and sunniest of cities, this is often the case. However, far more businesses use natural light in combination with artificial lighting than as a pure light source.
Mixing natural light and artificial lighting allows your business to get all of the key benefits of natural light – increased productivity, lower bills and improved health – without the downside of having to deal with inconsistent office lighting.
Many offices and manufacturing facilities in large cities blend natural and artificial light via light sensor systems. As the sun starts to fade, the artificial lighting system increases its intensity to pick up the slack and fill in the unlit gaps.
Moderate natural light is better than no light at all; in many cases, it’s actually better than intense daylight. Whether your city is bright and sunny or overcast, switching to natural light is always an intelligent decision for your business.