Daylight Providing Effective and Efficient Lighting in Industrial Facilities

Building Efficiency

Daylighting Application and Effectiveness in Industrial Facilities

Brian McCowan with Daniel Birleanu and Natalie Hildt for Zondits, November 15, 2013

Historically daylighting has been extensively used for the lighting of industrial spaces. Before the advent of practical mercury vapor and fluorescent lighting, the only available artificial lighting for industrial buildings was incandescent. The illumination of active industrial workspaces with incandescent lighting is difficult, so during the industrial revolution, architects utilized various daylighting strategies such as window walls, skylighting, monitors, etc. However, glazing technologies were also primitive compared with our modern glazing choices, and space conditioning and glare problems plagued day-lit spaces. When more efficient and effective artificial lighting became available, most older day-lit industrial buildings had their daylighting features disabled, sometimes elegantly, but usually they were simply boarded over. With modern glazing systems and sophisticated designs that minimize glare issues, daylighting for industrial buildings is making a strong comeback. Additionally, modern controllable ballasts and automatic lighting controls make possible hybrid lighting systems that are able to provide effective and efficient lighting under all environmental conditions.

This presentation demonstrates how the daylighting systems developed decades ago are being modernized to provide high quality, low-glare, uniform lighting, without the space conditioning penalties of the past. Premium glazing systems that limit heating season heat losses and cooling season heat gain are fully discussed, and the importance of glare control in day-lit spaces, for worker safety and productivity, is stressed. In addition, we outline a variety of passive and active strategies, including: redirected “beam” daylighting; reflective light shelves; and movable baffles and louvers.