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Daylighting – Where have all the skylights gone?

Over the last year, I have been asked several times by organizations in Washington, “So, what is the IES’ position on daylighting?” My response was simply, “The IES supports daylighting – why wouldn’t it?”. They were seemingly expecting me to downplay it due to their impression that it reduces the need for electric lighting equipment. While we all know that is a misnomer, the good news is that daylighting is on people’s minds.

Daylighting is an ages-old concept that was quite popular until the second half of the 20th century. Low electric rates, the increasing popularity of fluorescent lighting, and probably leaky roofs reduced the popularity of those large windows and skylights. However, in this atmosphere of higher energy costs, stringent building energy codes, and new technology, this concept is getting more attention. Click here to review an article on daylighting that appeared in LD+A. To get another perspective from outside our usual lighting environs, click here for an article that appeared in High Performance Buildings, an ASHRAE publication.

For a more in-depth, technical, and long term view of the situation, click here to check out the daylighting report submitted to the DOE by the Zero Energy Commercial Building Consortium (IES was a major contributor the report and is on the Steering Committee for this group).

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