Daylighting Systems and their Importance to Any Green Home
Artificial lighting is perhaps one of the most important conveniences of the modern age. It allowed our civilization to continue working and moving on with our lives even as we enter into the night. The day suddenly became a lot longer because of proper lighting technologies.
Unfortunately, even if artificial lighting is traditionally used during the darker night time, we still seem to use them during a bright day. Why is that? That is because some of our homes are not really good at letting fresh sunlight in. We continually waste energy in using lighting at times when it is actually not really needed.
Is there are way to catch all that sunlight in our homes then? Yes of course, by building a proper daylighting system.
Daylighting systems are as what you have already conceived in your mind. They are simply construction and renovation techniques that involve the redirection and diffusion of sunlight inside a room. With proper application of these techniques, a room with a daylighting system could be well illuminated just as if it was lighted by artificial lighting. Some of the simpler ways that designers do to create daylighting systems is the proper orientation of sunlight, using an array of different “light-manipulating” materials such as mirrors. The designer could also try to orient the entire structure in a specific direction, so that even as the sun travels from east to west, the establishment would still get near perfect illumination from natural sunlight.
The most obvious benefit taken from daylighting systems is of course the decreased energy consumption from artifical lighting. Since the room is perfectly lit by the sun, there is practically no need to use artificial lights. But while a daylighting system in theory can save up to 70% in lighting costs (ideally, since the only time you would have to use lighting would be from dusk to midnight), the application of the system and its design in accordance to the structure’s original design is paramount to its efficiency.
If the builders decide on a regular, traditional modern home, then it would be quite difficult to set up the daylighting system. It would create conflicts such as increased glare, uncontrolled heat gain and the eventual use of artificial lighting (since the owner of the house would then have to cover the windows). For maximum efficiency, the designers of the daylighting system should collaborate with the home builders at the very start of the project, so they can discuss thoroughly how the final design of the daylighting system for that home would be.
Nevertheless, when the home construction project is executed perfectly, the potential of a daylighting system to save costs would be crucial to any energy conscious homeowner. Because in addition to controlling sunlight, daylighting systems also have another bonus benefit: temperature control. That’s right, when engineered carefully a special daylighting system could also keep the room warm (through passive solar heating) during winter, while minimizing heat gain during summer. This again contributes to a decreased energy consumption rate, this time though from your home HVAC systems.
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