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Advantages of Daylighting: Harnessing the Sun’s Power

By Lou Podbelski, AIA, CSI, Vice President of Architectural Solutions

Feb. 21, 2017


Architects are sometimes guilty of thinking of natural daylight in building design in terms of “the more, the better.” They want their designs to allow for exterior views and be flooded with natural daylight.

Conquering the Challenges of “too much daylight”

Conversely the adage “too much of a good thing” comes to mind because access to natural daylight comes with its own set of challenges, including excessive heat gain and glare. While it’s important to maintain a connection to the outdoors, which has been proven to have a direct impact on overall health and wellbeing, it’s also crucial to optimize the sunlight allowed in the space to ensure a comfortable environment for all building occupants.

So, what are some of the factors to consider when integrating natural daylight into the design of a building?

Occupant comfort

When designing a building, it’s important to keep the building occupant at the forefront of all decisions. Architects want to create spaces where occupants are able to perform at the best of their abilities, including schools where students progress through curricula more quickly and office spaces where employees are more productive.

Access to natural daylight has been proven to have a positive impact on both progress of learning and employee productivity as well as health and wellbeing. By optimizing sunlight to prevent glare, fading and overheating, our dynamic glass helps to create an environment conducive to occupant wellbeing that takes advantage of the benefits of natural daylight.

Sustainability Goals

Once daylight passes through traditional blinds or shades, that energy is turned into heat. This makes a building’s HVAC system work harder in order to cool down the space, resulting in high energy bills.

By letting sunlight in on cool days and blocking it on hot days, our dynamic glass dramatically reduces energy demand and the need for HVAC and can generate energy savings of more than 20 percent. Furthermore, our dynamic glass can help buildings achieve green ratings, which are a “must-have” in today’s market.

Aesthetic Appeal

Architects want to see their creative visions become realities, it’s currently a trend to design buildings with large windows that integrate natural light; however, many times these windows need to be covered by blinds or sunshades to provide a comfortable indoor environment. This completely destroys the architect’s aesthetic vision, the overall aesthetic appeal of the building as well as obliterates access to outdoor views which is one of the main reasons for incorporating glass in the first place. Since dynamic glass does not require additional elements such as sunshades and blinds, architects are able to design creative buildings that are true to their visions.

Additionally, external sunshades can become “bird condominiums,” thus lessening the overall appeal of the building.

Knowing how to harness the power of the sun is a crucial aspect of building design. By focusing on creating a comfortable environment for building occupants that also meets the architect’s aesthetic and sustainability goals, our dynamic glass helps to create a win-win situation.