A good daylighting system is the easiest and most cost-effective way to light a space and reduce energy usage. After all, the sun provides everyone with a lot of free light and energy every day, it makes sense to take advantage of it. However, placing just adding in skylights or windows without thought is a recipe for disaster; or really just some discomfort, but you get the idea.
An average grocery store might save about $16,000 per year in operating costs, or $0.32 per square foot with the use of an appropriately sized skylighting system.
To achieve reduced energy usage and save on operating costs the daylighting must be intentional and controlled. It is equally important to install and implement lighting controls. If the office worker or employee’s turn on the electric lights, there will be no savings.
Why are electric lights so expensive to run? About half of a light bulb’s energy consumption is released as heat, making them fairly inefficient. LED technologies are improving this percentage, but they still cost money.
Potential Energy Savings
A good daylighting solution will reduce overall energy usage of any building. For example, the potential savings for a few typical buildings in the Los Angeles area were calculated*. An average grocery store might save about $16,000 per year in operating costs, or $0.32 per square foot with the use of an appropriately sized skylighting system. A typical elementary school might save about $7,500 per year in operating costs, or $0.23 per square foot. An industrial processing and distribution center might save about $0.12 per square foot.
*Using 1998 energy costs, weather conditions from the San Bernardino Valley, and a few default assumptions.