LEED and Daylighting

Earn LEED Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum

Today, conserving energy is more important than ever, both to help reduce the environmental impact and to help save the building owner money on operations.

LEED and Daylighting

Daylighting is one of the easiest ways to get LEED points for your project. Most of the points come from the Optimize Energy Performance Credit category. Heating and cooling are a large cost of daily operations and daylighting can play an integral role in optimizing energy performance. With ample and well placed natural lighting, using skylights or wall lights, you can reduce the need for artifical lighting drastically. With the proper type of daylighting, making sure it is well insulated and highly efficient, you can save money on having to heat or cool your building from solar heat gain or heat loss.

LEED Logo ProjectLEED in Daylighting Design

When designing a building, the LEED EQ Credit 8.1 for Daylighting and Views can be determined using software. A CG 3D model of the building is built, input and run through a daylighting simulation to ensure that the building meets LEED version 4 standards. This is currently set to a minimum requirement of 75% of the occupied area falling within the 25-500 foot-candle range during typical working hours.

To achieve the maximum LEED credits the architect must consider the daylighting requirements very early in their process. Skylight Specialists works to aid all architects in this process, we can provide information, experiential suggestions, and even run the daylighting study for the architect.

Translucent Vs. Transparent Daylighting

transparent vs translucent daylighting

When Should You Use Transparent Daylighting and When Should You Use Translucent?

Proper daylighting design requires use of both translucent vs. transparent daylighting. Glass or other transparent glazings provide a view of the outside, making the room feel larger and bringing the outdoors in. However, glass also brings in solar heat and causes glare, making the space uncomfortable and difficult to work in.

Translucent Vs. Transparent Daylighting

Translucent Daylighting Is the Most Cost Effective

Utilizing translucent daylighting is the most efficient and effective way to provide natural daylighting. Translucent panels are far more effective at blocking heat, providing savings in energy usage. Translucent panels also scatter the light, eliminating glare and reducing the amount of both artificial light and amount of daylighting needed, reducing both operating costs and installation costs. Translucent panels are cheaper to manufacture and install than glass, providing the best cost to usage ratio.

CPI Daylighting’s translucent polycarbonate, like their UniQuad or QuadWall products, provide highly diffused light without glare or solar heat gain. Diffuse light is like light on a cloudy day; small shadows, no spotlighting, low heat and easy on the eyes.

Transparent Daylighting Provides a View

Glass on the other hand provides a view. However the tradeoff is that it also delivers glare and solar heat gain. Glass is also expensive, and to get similar U-values, the glass has to be coated, triple pane, and insulated with argon gases, all adding to the costs. The seals will eventually break down, the gases leak out, and performance drops, and either replacements are expensive and difficult, or impossible.

But, there are areas that a view is necessary. No one wants to work in a building without a window or view outside. So the key is to balance the translucent vs. transparent daylighting in the design.

Translucent Vs. Transparent Daylighting Usage

For general use, walls at eye height (6 feet – 8 feet) should have some transparent glazing, allowing for views outside. In almost all other cases translucent daylighting provides the best performance at the best price. It really depends upon the usage: gymnasiums work best with translucent daylighting, and office buildings do well with translucent daylighting, as glare and heat can drop productivity quickly.

Commercial Flat Roof Daylighting Solution

The Velux Commercial Sun Tunnel for a Commercial Flat Roof

Getting cost-effective daylighting into a commercial building can be a challenge, especially when most have a commercial flat roof. Velux Commercial Sun Tunnels are a great potential solution.

Why Velux Sun Tunnels?

The Velux SunCurve diffuser is designed to capture light at all times of the day and reflect it down the shaft, giving you ample daylight dawn dusk.

Velux Sun Tunnels have a variety of parts and accessories to work with whatever needs your location might need; from forced entry protection, A, B, or C fire classifications, to a daylight controller for room darkening.

Sun Tunnel Parts and Accessories.

Velux also provides the best warranty, giving you peace of mind.

Ideal Applications

Velux Commercial Sun Tunnels were created for commercial flat roof applications, no matter the material. They work best over areas that can benefit from natural daylight, and help reduce energy loads and improve the comfort and performance of employees, guests, or customers.

Open Ceiling Sun TunnelSchools, retail spaces, warehouses and office locations benefit the most from Velux Commercial Sun Tunnels. They provide a very cost-effective way to bring in daylight through the roof. Even greater cost savings can be attained with open ceiling applications.

Lakewood Mall Retrofit with Quadwall

Los Angeles area mall reduces glare and daily energy expenditure with CPI Daylighting’s Quadwall® panels

Bright spots, dark patches and solar heat gain plagued suburban Los Angeles’ Lakewood Center for decades, causing a rise in the mall’s HVAC costs and energy expenditure. In 2010, the then 60-year-old mall began a 4-phase renovation over the next four years that would replace 42,000  square feet of ageing plexiglass skylight with CPI Daylighting’s Quadwall® panels.

The number one advantage of the Quadwall is that there’s an insulating factor between the outside and the inside, which helps the climate control inside the mall because the right temperature can be maintained using less HVAC, since the renovation, we’ve cut the run time of the AC units by four hours per day!

Scott Cleveland, Operations Manager, Lakewood Center, Lakewood, CA

The skylights were installed 25 years ago when the roof was first put on the once open mall, but had leaked and cracked over time, holding a U-value of .73 when replaced. By contrast, the new CPI Daylighting Quadwall panels have a .22 U-value.

An assembly of two independent translucent insulated panels, the Quadwall system provides indefinite building envelope protection with its Removable Skin Technology (RST) that allows the exterior panel to be removed while still maintaining the integrity of the interior panel. Joined by a mechanically interlocking connection, the dry-glazed Quadwall system eliminates the need for vulnerable adhesives, adding durability, as well as even light distribution with the system’s tight-cell technology. Specified for Lakewood Center in 10 mm ice white matte exterior over 8 mm ice white matte interior, the two panel Quadwall system is an integrated, high-performance daylighting system.

With the Removable Skin Technology, we won’t have the same type of replacement challenges, plus the strength of the panel and the way it’s built makes a big difference too. In the long run, because of zero maintenance and CPI Daylighting’s warranty, costs should be very low on the maintenance side of it.

Scott Cleveland, Operations Manager, Lakewood Center, Lakewood, CA

Scalable, the Quadwall system can be configured with additional insulation, UL-rated Class A or B fire rated roof assembly, sound reduction, dynamic shading, additional structural performance or even military forced entry resistance as well.

Today, visitors to the Lakewood Center enjoy an enhanced shopping experience, as high quality light streams through the new CPI Daylighting Quadwall panels.

I definitely see a difference in the way the interior light looks from the old skylight to the new Quadwall. It’s much brighter without any glare. Now, that’s what we were looking to achieve!

Scott Cleveland, Operations Manager, Lakewood Center, Lakewood, CA

Removable Skin Technology Utilized at Seattle Public Utility South Transfer Station

Seattle’s Public Utility’s South Transfer Station Earns Gold LEED with Removable Skin Technology

Seattle Public Utility used CPI Daylighthing’s Quadwall® sky and wall light to earn Gold LEED status on their new 33,000 square foot South Transfer Station. The Quadwall offers 40% light transmission without any additional artificial lighting on an average Seattle day. And because SPU processes up to 700,000 tons of trash annually, every detail counts.

We were very concerned about hot spots and glare temporarily blinding equipment operators with light and we haven’t seen any of that [with the Quadwall]. The natural light has been a big help and improved color recognition. We have a lot of heavy equipment and customers moving around and it’s better everyone.

Facilities Program Manager Jeff Neuner, SPU

Quadwall is a system of two independent translucent insulated panels, resulting in one integrated, high-performance daylighting system. Quadwall is the only system that can provide indefinite building envelope protection with its advanced RST — Removable Skin Technology.

What Is Removable Skin Technology?

This product has the ability to remove the outer skin without disturbing the inner portions of the building. For instance, a bad storm hits and debris damages some of the panels. To repair the building, you only need to remove and replace the damaged exterior panels. The interior panels are left in place and maintains the safety of the people and operations inside the building.

Being able to include a lot of daylight in the facility means that we’re not relying on the electric lighting.

Sian Roberts, The Miller/Hull Partnership

Quadwall can also be configured with additional insulation, FM-Rated Class A/B fire-rated roof assembly, sound reduction, dynamic shading, additional structural performance or even military forced entry resistance. Joined mechanically, Quadwall does not use vulnerable adhesives, for long term durability and performance. Quadwall’s nanocell technology creates even light distribution and removes glare.

This is a huge upgrade for Seattle Public Utilities to have even distribution and good quality of light to operate in. Per code, the South Transfer Station was required to meet FM-rated Class B roof construction. With a proprietary insert, the scalable Quadwall was the only solution.

CPI had the right balance – what we needed for the Class B roof and the level of quality we were looking for with the price we could afford.

Sian Roberts, The Miller/Hull Partnership

The mechanically interlocking connection was a bonus for South Transfer, helping to seamlessly integrate the sky and wall lights with the building’s exterior metal paneling.