Skylights in your commercial space can enhance your energy efficiency agenda by minimizing your lighting and HVAC usage and costs. Various installation techniques and materials heat, insulate, and bring natural light to the space without the use of electricity. A single skylight provides about 30% more natural lighting by day than its standard window counterpart of the same size, even on cloudy days. Installing skylights can even help move you toward eligibility for an Energy-Efficient Commercial Building tax credit.
One-story buildings present only limited challenges for skylight installation, but Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) currently allow up to 60’ of extension and can bend 90 degrees several times without significant light loss, so creative configurations will even bring light to lower floors of multi-story buildings. “TDDs are optically complex fenestration products. Solatube is the originator of this product category and continues to innovate with this technology,” Hanna Scott, LEED AP BD+C, Assoc. AIA, tells us. (Hanna has over 12 years of experience in the green building industry working in project management, architecture, and design. Contact Hanna for a lunch and learn or an AIA continuing education presentation on daylighting.) There are even ways to retrofit your lower story space for sun tunnels sharing existing utility shafts.
The Human Component
Natural light brings unquestionable benefits to employees and clientele using the space. There are many different ways to measure light and light intake (Kelvins, UV radiation, and footcandles, to name a few), but the distilled findings simply show that humans need natural light, and we need it every day. It’s one of the only ways we get our Vitamin D, and it promotes the production of serotonin and endorphins (feel-good hormones). It even reduces the amount of nitric oxide in the blood vessels under the skin, reducing blood pressure. It also slows the production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us tired) during the day. This is a lasting benefit that the users of your space take with them, as it continues to help better regulate their melatonin production at night so they sleep better. Maybe that’s why a daily dose of natural sunlight has also been found to increase focus, boost immunity, and prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). On the other end of the spectrum, implementing only artificial light (yes, even newer, LED light sources) is actually harmful to people.
Skylight installation contributes to your WELL Building Score, a globally-utilized building rating standard that applies to buildings, interior spaces and even communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness.
In a retail setting, consider that everyone will be, and therefore appear, healthier under natural light from a skylight. Where mirrors are present, customers will also see healthier reflections of themselves, and this translates as a perception of positive transformation supported by your products, and may even manifest some repeat business!
Electricity bill savings are paramount in an industrial setting, where large amounts of power are consumed in production. Imagine offsetting your entire daytime interior lighting costs with a one-time investment in skylight installation.
Healthy employees are more productive employees, and natural light is a huge contributor to productivity and overall human health. While cubicles are sometimes necessary due to space limitations, skylights and desk plants can make all the difference to wellness and happiness.
If you’re considering making skylights part of your greener tenant improvement design, include the employee wellness factor in your ROI calculations. APSGC is here to help you incorporate retrofitted skylights in an existing space, including permitting and ancillary trade work (e.g. roofing), or adding skylights in your original tenant improvement design drawings.
APSGC Green Building Services
Article: Health Effects of Artificial Light
Article: How Lighting Increases the Productivity of Your Workers
The US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction
The US Department of Energy’s Skylight Overview
The International WELL Building Institute
Learn more about Solatube daylighting: