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What Is Daylighting?

What Is Daylighting?

As environmentally-friendly design has become a part of the mainstream, you may have heard the term “daylighting” used to describe a particular green design technique.  But, what is it?

Daylighting refers to a design strategy that allows some or all of the artificial lighting in a space to be eliminated by the use of natural daylight in the room.  The addition of windows, clerestory windows (those at the very roofline of a space), skylights and solar light tubes is intended to bring more light into a room.  Installing interior windows allows that natural light to penetrate to interior spaces.  In some cases, rooms designed with daylighting in mind do not require the use of artificial lights during the day, thus saving the homeowner money in energy costs.

Interior finishes can also have an effect on the daylighting of a room.  Installing reflective finishes, such as granite countertops or glass tile, helps to bounce natural light around a room, enhancing the effect of the daylighting design features.

However, allowing tons of sunlight into a space can also have the unintended consequence of sun damage to your furnishings and finishes.  The UV rays of the sun can fade and damage any surface in short order, and will also allow a lot of heat into the home – potentially driving up cooling costs in the summer.  Proper window shadings can help you avoid these problems and enhance the daylighting effect in your home.

Hunter Douglas Silhouette daylighting

Photo courtesy Hunter Douglas

Sheer products, such as Silhouette shades from Hunter Douglas (see photo above), help to filter out the damaging UV rays of the sun, while filtering the light and helping it to penetrate even further into a space.  The vanes can be tilted to direct the light where it is needed, such as on to the surface of a writing desk or kitchen countertop, helping to eliminate the need for artificial lighting during the day.

Daylighting can be a useful term to know when you are designing or remodeling your home.  Tap into the available products and resources to make the most of the light we have around us everyday and make it work for you.

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