Daylighting

Tips for incorporating daylighting in your building

  • Start early. Contact us early for guidance on incorporating daylighting strategies in the pre-design phase of your project for the greatest cost-effectiveness.
  • Determine daylight feasibility when doing space planning. Your architect can assess window-to-wall ratio and whether or not windows are obstructed. Then, you can determine how much natural and electric light you'll need.
  • Include daylight in decisions on building structure and room layout. Reduce glare by positioning windows and skylights away from the most direct sunlight. Plan skylights in long and narrow rooms, in conjunction with dimming fixtures, to optimize the spread of light. Dimming is most effective in rooms with windows facing north or south.
  • Select the right glazing. When selecting glazing pay close attention to visible transmittance, visible reflectance, solar heat gain coefficient, and U-Value.
  • Consider the whole building. Your daylighting decisions may reduce the number of heat-generating lights needed in your space. By reducing the number of light fixtures, you can lower your cooling needs and reduce the size of your air conditioning system. Conversely, daylighting and associated glazing can increase your heating needs if not designed appropriately. Talk to your architect, engineer, or lighting designer to learn more.
  • Coordinate lighting. Design lighting systems so they accept dimmable ballasts and sensors. These technologies respond to available daylight and provide only as much illumination as you need.
  • When integrating daylighting with other controls, consider the following tips:
    • Install switching or automatic dimming for fixtures in the "daylighted zone," usually within 12' from a window wall. Fixtures located in a daylighted zone may require separate switching per Vermont state code.
    • In spaces smaller than 400 square feet, provide separate switches for the light fixtures in the daylighted zone and connect them to a vacancy sensor (a type of occupancy sensor that must be manually switched on).
    • In spaces greater than 400 square feet, consider daylight-controlled fluorescent step or dimming ballasts. Switching or "step-dimming" systems are typically more cost-effective than continuous dimming systems and can be used in common areas. Continuous dimming should be used in working spaces in order to prevent distraction to employees.