According to a research buildings that use daylight as the primary source of workplace illumination provide for a more comfortable, productive and healthier environment for workers.
And keeping these benefits in mind, researchers at UNC Charlotte have made new advances in harnessing daylight in the design for commercial buildings, in order to enhance the environmental impact of these concrete structures.
"Daylighting also represents the single largest 'new' opportunity for energy savings in commercial lighting today and for the foreseeable future," said Professor of Architecture Dale Brentrup.
The School of Architecture's Daylighting + Energy Performance Laboratory at UNC Charlotte, work towards shaping and delivering daylight by architecture itself.
The lab uses two instruments to assess the impact of sky luminance and solar radiation, The Artificial Sky, which allows simulates the average overcast conditions of the Piedmont region, and a Fixed Sun Movable Earth Heliodon, which simulates actual solar penetration.
Led by Brentrup, lab staffers are trying to figure out how current practices have impacted our carbon footprint.
"Daylighting is directly related to the idea of carbon reduction. For every kilowatt hour of energy we save, we're cutting approximately two and a half pounds of carbon dioxide emissions," said graduate student Lindsay Frizzell, who is working on a project to quantify energy efficiency.
Although buildings can be retrofitted to be more energy efficient, Brentrup said that it's possible to save greatest amount of energy by designing new buildings in accordance with environmentally responsible practices.
The researchers are working with the University to develop guidelines for ensuring the efficiency of new buildings.