Daylighting is defined as the practice of placing windows or other openings and reflective surfaces so that during the day natural light provides energy efficient lighting inside. So why would a hotel owner want to take on the challenge of using daylight to light their hotel?
The short answer: to create beautiful spaces, save energy and operating costs and reduce our impact on our planet In one word: money
Good daylighting design could save from 15 to 75 percent of the energy used forelectric lighting in a hotel building. Of course, energy savings depend on various factors such as occupancy patterns, control strategy, design, energy usage, and the amount of daylight.
It’s natural. Using natural light from the sun costs nothing to the environment and pays big dividends to hotel guests and employees. As a great energy efficient lighting solution for hotels, daylighting consumes less energy and thereby reduces fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions associated with global warming and climate change.
It works. Research has discovered that people thrive in naturally lit environments. Studies have shown that daylighting has a direct impact on well-being, productivity and overall sense of satisfaction – shoppers linger longer and buy more; students do better on tests; workers are more productive and absent less often.
It’s smart.Aside from making a green hotel statement about the owners, operators and staff (socially and sustainably responsible) daylighting can also:
- Reduce lighting and operating costs
- Reduce cooling costs (in almost all climates all year round)
- Be accomplished without significantincrease in construction costs in new construction
Because seeing is believing,project centers known as “living labs” have been created to examine the actual effectiveness of daylighting. These include the State of Wisconsin Administration Building in Milwaukee and the Hoffman Corp headquarters in Appleton, Wisconsin. “We use the term ‘cool-daylighting’ to emphasize that daylighting isn’t just big windows,” says Abby Vogen, project director at Energy Center of Wisconsin. “It is the orientation of the building, glazing, energy-efficient light fixtures, mechanical systems, and how all these components are impacted by natural lighting.”
Results of the experiment conducted by the Energy Center of Wisconsin at the Energy Resource Station in Iowa to see if cooling energy could be saved using daylighting design were considerable. Comparison of two rooms (one standard and the other high-performance) yielded 32 percent savings on annual lighting costs and total overall annual energy savings of 22 percent.
Even retail stores like Wal-mart are beginning to see the environmental and monetary benefits of daylighting for both employees and consumers. In an experiment, stores that included skylights over certain departments found that overall sales per square foot were higher in those departments lit by natural (energy-efficient) light.
For existing green hotels, a high-performance daylighting system may initially require a significant investment. However, if the project team uses an integrated, strategic design approach, the greenhotels overall long-term savings will make up for any initial dollars spent on daylighting.
Rising energy costs, environmental impact, and green design has compelled green hotels across the country to find economical alternatives and adapt new ideas, or in this case, reconsider old ideas made new again.