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Blog

Daylight Integration Ideas for Facility Managers

The lighting in a building influences important business functions like effectiveness and productivity. As a facilities manager, you are tasked with ensuring that both of these functions meet or exceed the goals established by the company's owners. You can satisfy this duty and create an atmosphere that optimizes profitability by implementing daylighting into the building's everyday function and appearance.

What is Daylighting?

Daylighting is simply the use of natural sunlight into a building. The natural lighting in this system can be natural, direct, or diffused. When utilized correctly, daylighting can decrease the building's dependency on electricity, lower utility costs, and increase worker productivity.

Additionally, when you implement daylighting in your building management scheme, you create an atmosphere that is both visually appealing and stimulating. Before you can use daylighting in your everyday building management, however, you must learn what components make up the typical daylighting system.

Daylighting System Components

The typical daylighting system is comprised of a number of different components. You need a combination of any of the following to use daylighting effectively in your building:

      • solar shading devices like window blinds
      • optimized furniture placement, space planning, and surface finishes
      • daylighting electric lighting controls
      • daylighting redirection devices
      • passive or active skylights
      • tubular daylighting devices
      • high performance glazing for surfaces

 

Effective daylighting also calls for you to consider the wall to window ratio as well as the placement of the windows themselves in the building. Once you have this information, you can then design a daylighting scheme that will optimize the daylight available to the building on any given day.

Incorporating Natural and Simulated Daylighting

Maximizing daylight available to your building may call for you to rearrange the furniture so that natural sunlight is not blocked during the day. The idea behind daylighting is to create as much open space in a floor plan as possible so that the light from outside can reach far into the room.

As such, you might need to rearrange the furniture to prevent a desk from creating dark shadows in the center of the floor. You also might need to relocate a set of shelves that is blocking a window that faces east.

Another important aspect of furniture arrangement involves avoiding glares that could distract workers. A desk that is located too close to a window might catch the sun's glare during the brightest time of the day. The glare could make it difficult for people nearby to focus on their work tasks until the sun moves higher up in the sky. By placing furniture in a pattern that lets light extend from the windows toward the center of the room, you maximize daylighting to the advantage of your staff and the atmosphere in which they are working.

You also can install either active or passive skylights to effectively use daylighting. Passive skylights typically have clear or acrylic covers that simply let in the daylight. This type of skylight does not reflect or direct the light but merely allows it to come into the space below it.

An active skylight, however, uses a mirror system that tracks the sun as it moves overhead the building. It channels the sunlight into a skylight well, thereby increasing its performance and reducing the building's dependence on electricity throughout the day.

Finally, you may consider using tubular devices, which have highly reflective film inside of them. They work by channeling light that is directed onto a lens on top of the building's rooftop. They direct that light to another lens located on the ceiling plane. While smaller than a skylight, a tubular device is still powerful enough to reduce a building's electricity dependency by as much as 30 percent. They also help you effectively use daylighting to the advantage of your building and its occupants.

The proper use of daylighting can create an environment that is more conducive to productivity and energy savings. As the facilities manager, you could enhance both by using a daylighting system that adds variations of lighting and temperature throughout the day. You also could maximize the profits that the company makes after you implement the daylighting system.

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