Building Energy Efficiency
Daylighting reduces as much as one-third of total building energy costs
Daylighting is the controlled admission of natural light by direct sunlight and diffuse skylight into a building to reduce electric lighting and saving energy.
Daylight and lighting controls provide commercial benefits
Electric lighting comprises almost 25% of the total electricity used in buildings in the United States (US-DOE 2006) and buildings comprise over 75% of the total electricity used nationwide (US-EIA 2008), thus pursuing ways to improve the performance of lighting control systems is a worthwhile endeavor.
Daylight harvesting offers opportunity to reduce energy consumption, costs
The United States Department of Energy estimates that U.S. commercial businesses use one-quarter of their total energy consumption for lighting. Daylighting and its associated systems, therefore, offer the opportunity to reduce energy consumption and costs.
Integration of daylighting strategies can reduce total energy costs by up to 30% Daylighting has the potential to provide significant cost savings.
Math and reading improve with daylight
Classroom lighting plays a particularly critical role in studies. Appropriate lighting improves test scores, reduces off-task behavior and plays a significant role in students’ achievement.
Boulder school reports 21% improvement in student learning rates through daylighting
Several studies have shown that natural daylighting in schools increases student performance. One study, completed for the California Energy Commission, found that among 12 models considered, there was on average a 21% improvement in student learning rates from those in classrooms with the least amount of daylight compared to those with the most.
Green school design provides financial benefits 20 times that of the cost
This national review of 30 green schools demonstrates that green schools cost less than 2% more than conventional schools – or about $3 per square foot ($3/ ft 2) – but provide financial benefits that are 20 times as large. Greening school design provides an extraordinarily cost-effective way to enhance student learning, reduce health and operational costs and, ultimately, increase school quality and competitiveness.
Building executives report myriad benefits to green school design
In fall 2005 Turner Construction released a survey of 665 executives at organizations involved in the building sector. Of those involved with green schools, over 70% reported that green schools reduced student absenteeism and improved student performance.
Health & Safety
Daylight provides physical and mental benefits
Physical Benefits of Sun Exposure:
- Boost the immune system: Vitamin D is essential to the immune system, and can help boost your immune system so that you can fight off disease more effectively.
- Lower cholesterol: One of the ways you can help lower your cholesterol naturally is to enjoy some sensible sun exposure.
- Lower resting pulse rate of the heart: Studies suggest that sunlight can help lower your pulse rate, improving cardiovascular health.
- Add resistance power to skin: While too much sun can be damaging to the skin, moderate exposure can actually be helpful to the skin. It can actually help your skin build up resistance to eczema, acne and psoriasis.
- Increase metabolism: Sensible sun exposure can help boost your metabolism, increasing the rate at which you burn calories. This can be a great thing, helping you lose weight and stay in shape.
- Better liver function: The nutrients that come as a result of sun exposure can help enhance your liver‘s function.
- Improve digestion: If you are interested in improving your digestion, you can increase your sun exposure to a moderate amount.
- Enhanced kidney function: Sun exposure, thanks to Vitamin D, offers help when it comes to kidney function. Kidneys remove waste from the body, so getting proper sun exposure can help decrease the toxicity in your bloodstream.
- Stronger skeleton: As the Vitamin D produced from sun exposure is absorbed, it can help strengthen bones in the skeleton. You’ll have less brittle bones, and a better posture.
Mental Health Benefits of Sun Exposure:
- Reduce stress: You can reduce your stress level with the help of proper exposure to sunlight. Taking some time to enjoy the sun can help you sleep better as you decrease your stress level.
- Reduce anxiety: If you are feeling anxious, sensible sun exposure on a regular basis can help soothe you. Sunlight is one of the natural remedies to anxiety.
- Fight depression: There is evidence that sunlight is a natural way to improve your mood. If you suffer from depression, adding a little moderate sun exposure might help you combat the symptoms.
Energy bills reduced by 50%, absenteeism drops 40-45% in Hewlett-Packard subsidiary
VeriFone, a subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard in Costa Mesa, Calif., upgraded its 76,000-square-foot building to include a series of roof skylights and other energy-efficient features. On sunny days, workers used only natural daylight and small task lights. Workers no longer complained about end-of-the-day headaches or end-of-the-week sluggishness. As a result, absenteeism dropped 40 to 45%, employee productivity increased 5 % and energy bills were slashed 50%, for a payback time of under one year.
Company increases worker productivity by 15% after adding daylighting to its facility
Lockheed Martin reports that after daylighting its facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., the company achieved 15% higher worker productivity. Additionally, the company won a $1.5 billion defense contract based on increased productivity, profits which paid for the entire building. As an added bonus, the company saved $300,000 to $400,000 a year on energy bills.
Furniture manufacturer employees reaps the benefits of daylighting design
A pre- and post-occupancy analysis of the new facility for Herman Miller, a furniture manufacturer in Holland, Mich., found the following:
Sustainable features of the building included extensive daylighting
Occupants experienced the following:
- Increased sense of well-being, belong and work spirit
- Increased job satisfaction
- Increased feeling of looking forward to work and being in good spirits at work
- Higher satisfaction overall with the building, especially the daylight
- The daytime workers responded most positively