Chase Bank of Loveland

Chase Bank of Loveland Hero

A Pyramid Skylight Retrofit Will Provide Improved Daylighting

The Chase Bank building in Loveland, CO has four low-rise pyramid skylights. The bank has experienced problems with these skylights over the years. Gaskets failing, condensation problems, and popping noises were a just few of the constant problems.

The biggest complaint, however, was the quality of the light and the heat from the sun. The light the skylights were projecting into the building was the number one complaint over the years. The longer the acrylic panels were in place the worse the yellowing of the light and the unbearable heat gain, especially on the second floor.

Going up to the second floor was like being an ant under a magnifying glass in the summer.
The Contractor

We discussed with the contractor and building owner the combinations of colors we could use to gain the control they were looking for. It was decided to use a blue polycarbonate outer layer with an interior layer of Ice White Matte. The Ice White Matte allows the light to be dispersed evenly across and down from each skylight.

A Daylighting Comparison: Yellowed Fiberglass vs. Translucent Polycarbonate

Daylighting and Energy Usage


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.

Daylighting and the Energy Codes


Better Performance Required

Throughout the US the energy codes are being rewritten. As energy demands increase, The US Dept. of Energy is requiring higher and better performance from buildings. But the interesting thing to note is that the US Dept. of Energy is requiring more daylighting at the same time. This can be a challenge to increase the amount of daylighting while at the same time increasing the energy performance of the building.

energy-codesToday, any new buildings over 10,000 square feet are required to have daylight space.

It is critical that energy codes are followed. Not following the code or ignoring NFRC can result in loss of LEED points.

Skylight Safety

Take Rooftop and Skylight Safety Seriously

Fall-Protection-SmallWe’re often told of the hazards of being on a roof and fall protection, but some of the guidelines can seem a bit over-cautious. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Most workers feel fit and healthy enough to not heed some fall protection advice. “I have good balance.” Or “I’m young a healthy, a fall won’t hurt me.” Both are quite far from the truth. Everyone has good balance until that one time they don’t, from a head rush, or a burst of wind, or a small slip on a screw or nail. And fall injury’s don’t work the same as others. While your health or youth might make recovery better, that’s only if you survive the fall. A fall of just 6 feet has the ability to cause a fatal head injury. Even that statement seems outlandish, how could a fall from that short of distance hurt anyone, let alone kill someone? It’s just that are bodies are not designed to take impacts from falls, we don’t have any shock absorption in our head or necks, making even small falls potentially deadly.

Routes of travel that take you past skylights or near the edge of the roof have now exposed you to fall hazards. This is not an empty warning.

Fall-protection-hierarchySkylight Openings are Dangerous on Job Sites

Recently a 39-year-old worker fell to his death on a job site through a skylight opening. The contractor was cited, as the death was considered preventable. Don’t put your workers at risk. Make sure they take safety serious and take the necessary precautions.

Skylights are Even More Dangerous

broken-skylight-fallen-throughNot only are skylight openings dangerous on job sites, skylights themselves are even more dangerous. Many assume the glazing is structurally sound, and can support their weight if a fall or slip were to happen. This is rarely the case. Most glazing is designed only for impact resistance from small hail. The fall of an average human is way more than the skylight can support. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because the opening is covered, it is safe. Take precautions and stay healthy and alive!