Greener Building > Daylighting

Daylighting means using natural light instead of artificial lighting fixtures for interior lighting. Because daylighting reduces the need for electric lighting, it saves money while reducing impacts to the environment. Skylights, clerestory windows, light reflectors, light shelves, light tubes, and other techniques help draw light into your building. Using building orientation to your advantage can also help bring natural light into your building.  Review the daylighting examples below, and consider opportunities to incorporate daylighting in offices and in your facility when making major renovations.

Daylighting saves money

Daylighting can reduce a building’s lighting requirements. In addition, some studies suggest that natural light improves employee morale and productivity. If designed properly, daylighting can also decrease the need for more costly space heating.

For more information, visit the Department of Energy’s Daylighting webpage.

Daylighting examples

NRDC San Francisco
NRDC: New York
Appleton School District case study’s Virtual Tours
Daylighting Best Practices

Environmental Benefits

Daylighting can reduce the amount of energy your organization needs for lighting, heating, and cooling, reducing costs and emissions related to energy production. Energy use is one of the largest environmental impacts in any facility, and also one of the greatest costs. Most energy consumed in the United States comes from coal, which contributes to smog, acid rain, and negative health and ecological impacts, and also contributes significantly to human-derived global warming. In addition, coal mining – especially surface mining and mountaintop removal – is devastating many of the world’s most biologically important habitats and ecosystems. Reducing energy use can have a positive impact on all of these factors and should also save your organization money.

Additional Resources

Department of Energy Building Technologies Program, Daylighting webpage
New York City – Manual for Quality, Energy Efficient Lighting