Daylighting and Energy Usage

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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.

 

Controlled Daylighting

hm-brown-daylighting-energy-usage-3To 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.

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.

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

American Architecture Review

CPI Daylighting is honored for their innovative design and products

The most innovative development in recent skylighting history is IntelaSun by CPI Daylighting. Being able to control the light in spaces such as renovated schools, indoor training facilities for sports teams, malls, and hospitals is crucial for proper design and use.

Dynamic daylighting equals:

    • Control of Daylight
    • Solar Control
    • Low Angled Daylight Harvesting
    • Glare Control
    • Economical Sustainable Construction
    • Energy Savings
    • System Longevity
    • Ease of Use

 

Metal Architecture article about CPI Daylighting Quadwall

Article on the University of Illinois Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) project from the June, 2012 edition.

Designed by VOA Associates Inc., the 340,000 square foot Activities and Recreation Center at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign is one of the country’s largest on campus recreation centers.

The majestic winter garden atrium and architectural entrance canopy are both glazed with CPI Daylighting’s translucent Quadwall Nano-Cell polycarbonate panel systems.

Click on the link below and scroll to page 30-31 to see the related article.