Daylighting: Harvest Natural Energy and Save

in Light

"Daylighting." Let the sun shine bright on your bottom line.

The time has come for you to shed a little daylight on your business. Literally.

Although it has become a technical term for architects, interior designers and "green-wise" accountants, "daylighting" is almost as simple and obvious as it seems: Daylighting your retail space, your offices, or your manufacturing facility, you make maximum use of the sun's light not only for the sake of reducing your energy costs but also to boost morale and productivity among your associates. Like many earth-friendly concepts, daylighting reprises lots of old ideas in their all-new twenty-first century forms. It also includes some extremely sophisticated applications of glass- and mirror-making technology, and it generally applies the principles of optics to the serious business of boosting your bottom line.

Apparently, your employees believe your care for the environment is a sign of your care for them. In the past, big corporations have worried that windows would promote workers' distraction and daydreaming. In fact, far from distracting workers, more "natural" work environments actually increase efficiency and productivity, and they have a profound effect on morale. Like the classic "Hawthorne Experiment" that showed how employees at the telephone company's Hawthorne assembly plant responded positively to almost any workplace change they perceived as a show of management's concern for their well-being, so contemporary experiments with daylighting have triggered gains in just about every measure of employee performance and satisfaction. Industrial psychologists have demonstrated the practical value of letting the light shine in, showing up to 30% gains in productivity among office workers, and documenting similar gains in employees' job satisfaction. They also have shown that businesses with daylighting and interior "greenscaping" have lower absenteeism rates and fewer employee grievances.

Daylighting shines on the bottom line.
Combining daylighting with solar power, a Minnesota elementary school has taken itself completely "off the grid," preserving scarce resources for service to students. Similarly, the schools in Houghton, Michigan, included daylighting in its larger initiative to transform its aging classrooms into "superior learning environments." Their energy savings enabled them to pay for computer and audio-visual upgrades without any extra funding from the school district, the state, or a bond issue. Moreover, switching to compact-fluorescent lighting and maximizing the benefits of daylighting, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst saved enough money to wipe-out its maintenance backlog and begin investing in other classroom improvements.

In a landmark study, market researchers compared two of a nationwide retailer's facilities, matching them by demographics, square footage, and average daily sales. At one location, they took aggressive measures to improve daylighting, including installation of high-performance prismatic systems that allowed for turning-off the lights up to ten hours per day. At the other location, they maintained the status quo. They studied customers' behaviour and the stores' sales for six months. According to their data, the naturally lit store increased customer foot traffic by more than 35%, raised its average tickets by 11%, and improved customer satisfaction by 23%.

Oldies but goodies integrated with new technology.
For some small businesses, the process of going green with daylighting begins with the simple act of stripping the blinds from the windows and completing a little strategic re-painting to spread the light evenly across workspaces. Managers concerned about employees' gazing listlessly out their newly uncovered windows wisely have added interior landscaping—plants and small trees—to reduce heat from direct sunlight and to clean stale interior air. In new construction and major remodelling, dormers, skylights, and "light-shelves" are making big comebacks, because the little bit they add to building costs is more than compensated in just a few months of reduced energy costs. Similarly, old-fashioned "sawtooth" rooflines are making a big comeback in warehouses and small industrial plants—especially in the upper Midwest, because they maximize daylight all year long and they dramatically reduce the risk of roof failure under the weight of heavy snow.

Daylighting experts offer a variety of advanced systems—active, passive, and hybrid. In the most advanced stems, diffusers and deflectors use prisms either to spread little bits of natural light across wide spaces or to direct it to shine most intensely on desks, drawing boards, or work areas. Active systems track the sun's passage across the sky, enabling users to depend exclusively on natural light for up to half of every day.

Consult the industry's leaders.
Because not all designers and developers have mastered sophisticated daylighting installation and applications, you should consult the industry's leaders as you consider what daylighting can do for you and your business. A daylighting contractor must offer not only the best products at the most reasonable prices but also engineering, design, and professional installation services. Not surprisingly, newcomers to the industry focus more on sales than service, and they tend to make one solution fit every situation. The graybeards on the other hand, custom-fit daylighting solutions to their clients' needs, taking into account everything from a building's latitude and longitude and the way it faces the sun to the business's goals for productivity and customer service. For more than thirty years, America's leading retailers, manufacturers, and logistics companies have turned to A-1 Daylighting to answer their questions, tailor-make daylighting solutions for their facilities, and provide them with the industry's finest products. A-1 Daylighting has built a sterling reputation on its guarantee of exemplary service to small businesses and nationwide clients.

 

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Walker Wild has 1 articles online

A-1 Daylighting offers 30 years knowledge and experience in daylighting and commercial skylighting installation and applications custom fit to your true business needs. Unlike newcomers claiming to be experts in daylighting applications, A-1Daylighting.com is truely a veteran service provider offering complete end-to-end daylighting to meet your particular situation. Located in Salt Lake City, UT, A-1Daylighting.com can custom-fit daylighting solutions to compliment your various green energy initiatives. Thus, thereby saving you money in the long run. Visit this skylighting provider online at www.a-1daylighting.com or phone 801-535-4345 for further information. A-1Daylighting is a recognized distributor of Sun Optics products.

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Daylighting: Harvest Natural Energy and Save

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This article was published on 2011/04/01