What Is Daylighting?

The sun is the earth's original source of light, and 'daylighting' is the purest way to use that light.  In structures, the term daylighitng refers to the controlled admission of this natural light into a building.

Natural light is considered to be 'clean' light when compared to electric lighitng.  This means that natural light is free of electrical flicker (which occurs in most florescent lights due to their cycled A/C power source, and which occurs in most LED's, to preserve power).  Natural light also contains the full spectrum of visible solar colors, as our eyes were meant to see.

The best daylighting systems should provide natural light without glare, and with limited impact to the building 'envelope'.


Continue to: Why Do You Need Daylighting?


Why Do You Need Daylighting?

Daylight is as natural and essential as clean air and clean water. We have advanced with it since the dawn of time, and we depend upon it for survival.  Modern structures often separate us from this basic need.

Beyond the asthetic benefits of full spectrum lighting, natural light is a major contributor to maintaining health.  Numerous studies have shown that natural light, with a balanced spectrum can help maintain circadian rhythms. Natural light also changes throughout the day, which impacts how key glands function to energize, heal, and calm our bodies.

Without daylight, people will often suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and chemical/hormone imbalances that negatively affect health, concentration, and performance.

In turn, buildings with adequate daylight can promote happiness, contentment, and productivity.  All of which are greatly improved with high quality natural daylight.

Adding natural light to core spaces can provide these benefits to occupant health and productivity, and high quality daylighitng can can also greatly reduce electric lighting and cooling loads, saving energy and reducing green house gas emissions.

Next: What Are The Benefits of Daylighting?


The benfits of daylighting are numerous (and measurable).

Studies have shown that daylighting can improve people's lives in many areas.  For example:
  • In office settings, daylighting can reduce employee turnover, improve productivity, and increase worker satisfaction.
  • In healthcare natual light has been shown to speed patient recovery and improve sleep cycles.  
  • In retail outlets natural daylighting has been proven to increase sales.
  • In education daylighting will speed learning and improve performance for students (and in one study, it imrpoved physical growth and reduced dental decay in children!).  It also increases teacher job satisfaction in the classroom.
  • In warehouse/factory and industrial settings, in addition to improving worker productivity, daylighting will improve the floor environment by providing higher quality full-spectrum lighting when compared to standard HID lights.
  • And of course daylighitng reduces overal building energy loads and improves general quality of life.


Next: The Best Way to Add Daylighting

Image by Flickr/Luz Adriana Villa A.


What's the best way to add daylighting?

You have many options to include daylight into your building space.  But careful consideration needs to be taken with the design and planning of each option.  For instance, windows and skylights are the most common solutions for simple daylight, but each have their drawbacks.  Windows provide views and perimeter daylight. Depending on building orientation, they can be a good or poor source of daylight impacted by season and time of day.  Direct sunlight streams through the glass producing bright spots/hotspots (that move as the sun moves). Similar problems occur with most skylights and even tubular skylights.  Perimeter or skylight solutions often require shades or other systems to turn off the sun reducing or eliminting the benefits to occupants and the operation of the building.

The Problem With Windows In Certain Applications: Glare.For commercial, industrial, and large-scale residential uses (such as multi-story apartment buildings), careful consideration and planning is necessary for these traditional options so as not to reduce building efficiency and occupant productivity, nor allow for excessive heat gain/loss.





Introducing Sundolier:

Sundolier eliminates glare and hot spots.  It works all day, as long as the sun shines.  It can be dimmed for conference rooms or presentations in classrooms.  It has a very low footprint with a low per/area penetration of the building envelope compared to the light output of skylights, tubes, or windows.  It's quieter in inclement weather than skylights.  And the benefits go on.




Learn even more...

Next: Visit our daylighting benefits page for case studies, and scientfic research on daylighting