Daylight – Eco Friendly Lighting
One of the major challenges faced by the modern workplace in recent years has been the quest to find ways to significantly reduce energy consumption. Faced with the prospect of rising energy costs, the drive to reduce carbon emissions and forthcoming behaviour-orientated legislation, many businesses are now becoming critically aware of their need to act. And the key areas where businesses can make serious reductions in energy use are lighting, heating and ventilation.
Solarspot® tubular daylighting systems are used in virtually all types of commercial and industrial building throughout the world. The addition of natural daylight to a building not only meets current demands to significantly reduce energy used for lighting, it also helps to prevent heat build-up from solar-gain and so helps reduce the cooling requirements – saving on air-conditioning as well.
In addition to the obvious benefits of reduced energy consumption, lower fuel costs and carbon emissions, there are direct benefits to the occupants of day lit buildings that include reduced absenteeism, improved feeling of well-being (helping to combat ‘sick-building syndrome’ and SAD) and improved performance and productivity.
In addition to the cost saving and environmental benefits of using free and freely available daylight to illuminate buildings, daylighting living and working environments brings many other advantages. From improved worker health and productivity to reduced sickness absence, better academic performance and increased sales and, of course, improved sustainability. Add to that the legal requirements of a whole raft of Health & Safety legislation that daylighting can help to meet and it’s clear that daylighting can make a significant contribution to Corporate and Social Responsibility.
Many studies have been undertaken that look at the impact of daylighting on working environments. Summaries can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
Effective daylighting can result in over 80% reduction in energy use, 90% cut in daytime energy consumption for electric lighting and up to 24% decrease in cooling load.
Improving the Workplace
Daylighting can help to lower accident rates and reduce the number of cases of stress and depression in the workplace as well as significantly boost worker productivity. It has also been shown to contribute to improving the speed of recovery for hospital patients.
Educational facilities that have installed daylighting systems have reported wide ranging benefits including improved academic performance and behaviour and reduced absenteeism. In addition, the cost savings made from reduced energy consumption free up money to be spent on educational facilities.
Investment in daylighting systems has shown to yield significant returns over the life of buildings. While the reduced costs of HVAC equipment can result in reduced new build construction costs. And research has shown that daylit buildings can attract higher rates and sales value.
When daylighting systems are installed in residential applications the environment becomes a much more pleasant place in which to live. During the summer months, significantly less energy is spent on electricity for lighting. And even in the winter daylighting can make a contribution to reducing householders’ carbon footprint.
Retailers have reported up to 40% higher sales as well as reduced energy costs when they daylight their sites. This sector has been particularly successful in its adoption of daylighting technology with installations in outlets large and small including M&S, BP and Sainsbury’s in the UK and Wal Mart and Costco in the US.
Installing Daylighting Systems can contribute to meeting UK legal requirements.
Building Regulation Part L. Para 1.14 states that “special care needs to be given to confirm that levels of daylight are adequate” while Para 1.55 states “where it is practical, the aim of lighting control should be to encourage the maximum use of daylight and to avoid unnecessary artificial lighting during the time when spaces are unoccupied”.
Health & Safety at Work
Workplace (Health Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 state, “Every workplace shall have suitable and sufficient lighting which shall, so far as is reasonably practicable, be by natural light”. These comments are restated in HSG 38 – Lighting at Work.
Construction Design and Management
As part of the CDM Regulations, designers need to consider carefully the potential to eliminate or reduce known or predictable hazards. Installing Daylighting Systems results in significantly less risk than with installing roof lights because of the much smaller gaps required in the roof to fit them and because no ongoing maintenance or cleaning are needed.