Daylighting can have such a powerful effect on office workers’ comfort, well-being, and productivity, the buildings they occupy are now being oriented and designed to bring as much daylight as possible into occupied spaces. So say three experts on the topic, impaneled at the National Lighting Bureau’s Annual Lighting Forum. Moderated by EdisonReport Editor and Publisher Randy Reid, the panel comprised Sara Lappano, P.E., LC, LEED AP (SmithGroupJJR); Brent Protzman, Ph.D., LC (Lutron Electronics); and Seth Warren Rose (Eneref Institute).
Underscoring the impact of effective daylighting, Rose recounted a story about five libraries in Berkeley, California. The least-used library provided low-quality daylighting to the facility’s occupants. Once the building was renovated, with extensive focus on its daylighting characteristics, the library became Berkeley’s most popular.
Lappano noted that developing effective daylighting design is not simple. It requires a team approach involving the architect, lighting designer, electrical engineer, and – for purposes of energy-use modeling – the mechanical engineer. As Protzman noted, however, the team needs to develop a solution at the outset, and all team members need to focus on making it happen. In that respect, Lappano commented that team members must realize that more daylighting is not necessarily better daylighting, given that too much daylighting can have a negative impact on energy consumption and overall lighting quality.
As one outcome of the new emphasis on daylighting, Lappano said new buildings tend to be “slimmer” than their older counterparts, allowing almost all occupants to have a view out the window, giving almost all workers some of the benefit of a “corner office.” While this approach costs more to build on a per-square-foot basis, Protzman noted that those who intend to purchase or rent space find that the benefits of better daylighting justify higher prices for space acquisition.