Benefits Of Daylighting: Helping Businesses See The Light

Since the invention of the light bulb, factories and office complexes have been built to accommodate electrical lighting.  Certain sections of the premises require such lighting to be activated even during the day.

So it should come as no surprise that electrical lighting in offices and homes incurs higher costs throughout America than gas for vehicles. Hence
the increasing emphasis on the benefits of ‘daylighting’.

What is Daylighting?

Daylighting is an approach to building design that looks to facilitate the spread of sunlight throughout a building interior, in the process providing a source of natural illumination that reduces dependence on electrical lighting.

One way this can be achieved is through more liberal and effective use of windows. An especially popular daylighting technique is to install skylights – openings in the ceiling that allow more sunlight to enter the building. They are especially designed to only allow sunlight, so no chance of water leaks if they are properly installed, and they grant the additional benefit of improving ventilation.

Such methods have become popular with home owners, but many commercial and industrial buildings are still designed with electrical lighting in mind, and many businesses remain dependent on traditional methods. Old habits are hard to break after all, but  if more companies were made aware of the many benefits that daylighting has to offer, they may be more willing to incorporate it into their business strategy.

Such benefits include:

Cost Reduction:

Naturally, reducing dependence on electrical lighting will reduce electrical expense, freeing up financial resources for more productive investments.

According to the United States Department of Energy, the average grocery store saves $16,000 per year in lighting bills by incorporating daylighting methods, and a school can save around $7,500 per year. An industrial building can save around 12 cents per square foot. According to a Carnegie Mellon University Study in 2004, overall energy savings can add up to between 22 and 60%,

Financial Incentives:

In some countries, employing daylighting methods can make a business eligible for tax breaks, and other financial incentives that governments are offering in order to encourage companies to go green. Combined with cost savings brought about by reduced dependence on electrical lighting, daylighting can be quite lucrative indeed.

Reduced Carbon Footprint:

All over the world, governments are encouraging businesses to take steps to reduce their carbon emissions. Daylighting is one of the most effective ways to achieve this.

Increased Worker Productivity:

The increased amount of sunlight has been proven to have positive effects on worker productivity. More sunlight means less eye strain and a boost to energy levels. The physical and psychological health benefits lead to a reduction in worker absenteeism and an improvement in morale.

According to a 2002 National Renewable Energy Laboratory Study, use of daylighting methods can lead to an increase in worker productivity of 15%, thanks to heightened levels of alertness and the reduction in absenteeism.

Harnessing the Power of Daylighting

The Carnegie Mellon University Study found that the combination of energy savings and increased productivity can contribute to a Return on Investment of over 185%.

That’s a strong incentive for businesses to adopt daylighting methods, but their daylighting mechanisms must be state of the art to truly reap the benefits. Careful planning is required, especially when applying such methods to large commercial buildings, office complexes and factories.

But with the correct application, the advantages of daylighting should be clear as day.

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License: Creative Commons

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is a freelance writer, whose attempts to promote daylighting are merely part of a secret war on vampires. Saving the world, one blog post at a time.