“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright, the prolific American architect, knew well the importance of incorporating nature into his designs, particularly the sun. His greatest architectural achievements utilized many windows and apertures that harnessed daylighting’s benefits.
Unfortunately in the post-World War II era, cheap electricity and changes in electric lighting technology caused architects and builders to forget about the sun's inherent benefits. The result was buildings designed to look like giant cinder blocks.
Thankfully, today there is a resurgence of daylighting in architecture because of its proven advantages. One of its most attractive benefits is the energy savings - daylighting reduces electric lighting loads and related cooling loads (the costs of powering those systems). Additionally, solar gains during cooling load periods can be lessened and solar gains during heating load periods can be utilized, further reducing energy costs and demand on HVAC systems.
Many studies have concluded that daylighting has positive physical and mental effects. Daylighting has been linked to decreases in absenteeism, higher productivity, higher test scores, and shorter recovery times for hospitalized patients.
LEED certification, an accreditation that recognizes sustainable and environmentally-friendly building construction, has gained a lot of attention in recent years. More and more, companies hire vendors that incorporate sustainability into their daily operations, and LEED certification is one of the best ways a business can demonstrate their commitment to green practices. When you incorporate daylighting into your design, you are eligible to earn credits that count toward LEED certification.