Natural light is especially beneficial in commercial buildings because not only can it help reduce energy consumption, it can also improve working conditions and positively impact productivity of building occupants. Unfortunately, there are inherent challenges when it comes to ensuring a commercial building has sufficient natural light. So, how can you incorporate more natural light in your next commercial renovation or constriction project?
The Benefits of Natural Light
The ability of daylight to positively impact employee wellbeing and productivity has been a hot topic as of late. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg of Architectural Lighting explains that daylighting workspaces increases comfort and productivity of workers by providing the visual and mental stimulation that regulates circadian rhythms.
Additionally, natural lighting can lead to lower energy costs resulting from reductions in electricity consumption. The Whole Building Design Guide explains that electric lighting accounts for up to 50% of total energy consumption in commercial buildings, and daylighting can reduce as much as one-third of total building energy costs.
How-To Create an Interior Conducive to Daylight
Incorporating windows and skylights is the first option for introducing natural light into commercial buildings. However, proper placement is key for the windows and skylights to be effective, which is where the expertise of your general contractor is invaluable. The type of windows and placement of these should be influenced by the amount of light needed, the type of workspace intended, privacy requirements, and the overall design of the building.
Oftentimes simple windows or skylights are not enough to bring natural light to the interiors of commercial buildings. Another popular tactic for leveraging natural light is to use light colors and reflective materials throughout a building. For example, white walls, ceilings and panels will reflect natural light and increase overall brightness of the workspace. Glass-partitioned walls and doors are also great for reflecting light and creating a sense of openness in a work environment.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Windows?
Most people would agree that there is no such thing as too many windows, especially in a commercial building. However, it is important to keep in mind certain challenges associated with numerous windows. Traditional glass simply does not control heat or glare, which can lead to discomfort for building occupants as well as have a negative impact on energy-efficiency goals. With this in mind, it’s important consider glass and window coverings. Thinking beyond bulky shades and blinds, dynamic glass or tinted windows is a great option allow building occupants to benefit from natural light without the drawbacks.
Start With A Plan
Leveraging natural light to create a comfortable, healthy environment and beautiful space for building occupants is possible. It all starts with a strong partnership with your commercial general contractor to plan for the best lighting solutions.
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