Daylighting: Less Cost & More Productivity

Well-designed daylighting reduces energy costs and contributes to a significant increase in worker productivity.

Daylighting involves more than simply adding windows or skylights in order to allow light to enter an occupied space; good daylighting design must also take into consideration the possibility of undesirable side effects and preserve the occupant’s view by using integrated design strategies to balance occupant needs. These include balancing heat gain and loss, controlling glare, and addressing variations in the availability of daylight. Therefore, successful daylighting designs must include the use of shading devices to control heat loads and to reduce both glare and excessive contrast between lit and unlit spaces. In addition, designers must evaluate window spacing and size, glass selection, the reflectance of interior finishes, and the location of interior partitions.

Despite these accompanying design challenges, daylighting has the potential to significantly reduce operating costs, life-cycle costs, and emissions, and to increase occupants’ productivity and wellbeing. A study by Heschong Mahone, a research group, found that office workers performed better on tests of metal function and memory recall when they had a view versus those with no view. Reports of increased fatigue were most strongly associated with a lack of view.

Contributed by Troy Depeiza