Daylighting, LED Lighting and ROI
November 01 2015
Daylighting of architectural space is an integral part of architectural design. After all, humans occupy buildings, and humans desire a physical and psychological connection to the “outside” world. Additionally, all life on Earth, including human life, evolved under sunlight and our Circadian rhythms, which govern our daily living cycles and influence our mood and control our sleep patterns, developed in response to a connection to the outdoors. Apertures which connect interior building spaces with the exterior environment, such as windows, skylights, and atria, help define and shape the architectural character of the building, and thus are important elements of architectural design. Throughout history, these apertures have served multiple functions – view, fresh air, emergency egress, communication and so on. After the OPEC oil embargo of the mid-1970s, use of building apertures for their lighting energy saving potential – turning off or dimming electric lights when adequate daylight levels exist – has become an established strategy in new and existing commercial ( non-residential ) buildings. Thus began a trend which has had some serious unintended consequences. Let me explain.
Two New Reports Link Daylighting to Worker Health and Productivity
January 21 2015
Two recently released reports summarize research linking daylighting with worker health and productivity. The first study prepared by the World Green Building Council (WBGC) aims to establish a quantifiable monetary link between energy and environmentally responsive commercial buildings and occupant wellness and productivity. The report is a meta study of hundreds of academic and industry studies covering a range of office design factors, including lighting ( daylighting and electric lighting ), thermal comfort, acoustics, interior layout and biophilia ( the connection of people to the natural environment ). The report offers a toolkit for building owners to realize and substantiate the financial benefits of energy and environmentally responsive design strategies. The intent of the report is to help organizations integrate this type of information into financial decision-making.
The second report released by Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana indicates that occupants of a workspace containing windows that provide daylight not only are more productive, but they also get more sleep during off hours, are more physically active, and report a higher quality of life then those who worked in spaces without daylight. Because of the dangers of sleep deprivation, as well as the productivity and health advantages of daylighting, the study’s author’s urge building owners and architects to keep window place and daylighting in their minds when designing or redesigning office space.
LightLouver LLC Testifies at EPA Clean Power Plan Hearing
August 15 2014
Michael Holtz, FAIA, a Co-Founder and Principal at LightLouver LLC, testified at a July 30th Public Hearing at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offices in Denver regarding EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan rule, which would reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030. Michael’s testimony was in support of the rule which sets state-specific targets ( goals ) for CO2 reduction and requirements for state plans for achieving these CO2 emission reduction targets. His testimony brought attention to the role that the building sector plays in CO2 emissions, and the need for state plans to address equally supply side reduction opportunities and demand side reduction opportunities. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2013, the building sector accounts for 47.6% of total U.S. annual energy consumption, 44.6% of all U.S. CO2 emissions and 75% of all U.S. electricity consumption.
Additionally, Holtz called for more aggressive CO2 emission reduction goals implemented quicker to address the growing impacts of climate change, in large part cause by electric power plants burning coal and natural gas.
A PDF of Holtz’ testimony is available for download by clicking the following link:
SmartMarket™ Report Identifies Barriers to Healthy Working Environments
August 14 2014
A SmartMarket™ Report produced by McGraw Hill Construction in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects reveals that the biggest barrier to considering the health impact of buildings is a lack of education on the connection between healthy work and living environments, and building occupants.
The report emphasizes key barriers that prevent companies from adopting design and construction strategies that take health impact into consideration. Top challenges to implementing these building practices include the large number of factors builders must consider, lack of information and data on health impact, and the lack of willingness to invest in improvements related to occupant health.
The figure above summarizes the factors influencing design and construction decisions most in 2014.
The LightLouver Daylighting System addresses a number of these factors, including energy savings, improving productivity, building impacts on health and aesthetics. In fact, the non-energy related benefits of daylighting in combination with the energy saving benefits of daylighting provide great value to the building occupants and owner.