The Basics of Daylighting – From Energy Savings to UV, Productivity and More

Basics of Daylighting - From Energy Savings to UV, Productivity and MoreAre you considering installing a daylighting system in your building? From offices to retail stores, skylights are used in a wide variety of buildings to improve aesthetics, reduce energy consumption and create a more productive work environment.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the basics of daylighting – its energy savings, its ability to light your work environment without allowing UV radiation to pass through, and its immense benefits for productivity – to help you better understand its value.

The basics of daylighting

Daylighting has been an important principle of architecture and construction for hundreds of years. Long before electrical lighting became commonplace, buildings were designed and built to maximize their exposure to natural sunlight.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, however, artificial lighting made daylight much less important for architects. Buildings became more focused on efficient design and a large variety of public buildings – from schools to libraries – neglected daylight.

For a long period, architecture explicitly avoided daylight. During the 1970s, the conventional wisdom was that exposure to natural light reduced productivity – a belief that contributed to the ‘boxy’ urban office designs of the period.

Today, scientists and architects understand the value of daylight. Workplaces that are lit by the sun are more productive, happier, healthier and significantly cheaper to light and heat than their artificially lit counterparts.

Skylights and daylight

By far the most popular way to introduce daylighting into a workplace is by using a skylight. Skylights are available in a massive range of shapes, sizes and materials – a versatility that’s made them popular with manufacturers, retailers and schools alike.

Skylights have been used for more than 100 years in building design, and much like other aspects of architecture and construction, they’re evolved dramatically during the past century. Modern skylights use a variety of design features and materials to prevent heat transfer, reduce UV exposure and offer diffused, usable sunlight.

Protective coatings

Almost all modern skylights use a protective coating to eliminate the risk of heavy impacts breaking the skylight. Many of the coatings used in skylights not only stop the damage from impacts, but protect against UV or heat transfer as well.

For example, fiberglass is used in many skylights to reduce the transfer of UV rays into the building. Silica aerogel, another coating, is used to prevent exterior heat from being transferred through a skylight and into the interior of the building.

Other coatings, such as PMMA, are used to strengthen skylights installed in regions that are affected by extreme weather. PMMA coatings can produce skylights that are up to 10 times stronger than standard, untreated glass.

Daylighting and energy

One of the biggest benefits of daylighting is its ability to reduce the total amount of energy your building uses. If your business is heavily dependent on artificial lights, it could potentially save thousands of dollars a month by using a daylighting system.

This is particularly important for businesses in states such as Arizona, Nevada and California that receive more than 200 days of sunshine per year. With ample levels of natural light, relying on artificial lighting is an expensive and wasteful option.

Daylighting and health

In addition to lowering energy consumption and expenses, daylight has a positive effect on health. Numerous studies conducted in Switzerland, the United States and Canada show that daylight reduces stress and boosts immunity to common illnesses.

Sun exposure also makes people less likely to be depressed. A volume of scientific studies show that workplaces that use natural light tend to have a more satisfied, motivated workforce than those that depend heavily on artificial lighting.

Daylighting and productivity

Finally, daylighting has a positive effect on workplace productivity. Employees that work in buildings lit using natural light tend to produce work that’s more effective and valuable than that produced by workers in artificially lit environments.

Natural light also has a positive effect on energy levels, resulting in an energized and productive workforce that’s less likely to ‘burn out’ during the workday. This means a more consistent, predictable level of output for results-driven businesses.

Using daylighting at work

It’s refreshingly easy to become an energy efficient business. Skylights are available in a wide variety of sizes, materials and prices, making it simple for your business to get started with daylighting and gradually increase its natural lighting over time.

If you’re tired of spending thousands of dollars a month to light your building, pick up your phone today and speak to us about installing an energy efficient daylighting system in your building to lower your bills and increase your workplace output.

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