Recently the New York Times reported a compelling fact: “Enough sunlight falls every hour to meet the entire world’s energy needs for one year.” That is a lot of essentially free energy that’s being wasted! This presents an opportunity to find ways to use the sun and its energy to decrease our impact on the earth’s natural resources.
One way of doing this is using the sun to naturally light our homes and work spaces. Research and studies have proven there are many benefits of daylight. These benefits include:
- Energy conservation
- Increased productivity
- Lifting of spirits
- Spaces appear larger
- Improved concentration
- Quickened learning speed
At Extra Space Storage, one of the ways we’ve been able to tap into this clean and natural energy (and reduce our energy consumption) by harvesting daylight throughout our facilities.
Roof redesigns provide a great opportunity for daylight harvesting. When a facility needs its roof replaced, we look for ways to incorporate skylights into the new design. These skylights bring in the natural daylight and provide us with hours of free lighting, everyday. There are a variety of ways to accomplish daylight harvesting – another way we achieve this is by adding banks of windows instead of regular walls.
More than reducing the need for electric lighting, another benefit to daylight harvesting is that it also improves the facility aesthetically. Maybe this is because the concept draws on the architectural principle that was Frank Lloyd Wright’s goal – to bring the outside in, and the inside out. Or maybe it’s just that people like sunlight. Either way, it’s a long-term solution for reducing unnecessary energy consumption.
This can be taken a step further by using photo-electric sensors. These sensors determine when the daylight is sufficient enough to light a space. Automated sensors can be set to turn on electrical lights when the daylight begins to dim. Photo-electric sensors allow us to provide adequate light at all times, allowing for daily changes (like on a cloudy day) and adjusting to the gradual seasonal changes in light. These also enable us to light our facilities without ever duplicating the efforts so to speak of the light provided by natural daylight.
Daylight harvesting is an effective way for anyone to save energy while not sacrificing the comforts of sufficient lighting. Take a moment to think about how you can use daylight to reduce your consumption of energy.
Do you have any techniques you use to save energy in your business? Can you tell a difference between daylight vs. electrical light?Daylight Harvesting – Better for the Environment, Better for You! by Brent Hardy