Posted in education on August 6, 2015 12:47 pm EDT

Harvesting Daylight

Technology is integrating with other products and systems -- and maximizing benefits.

SageGlass Electrochromic windows installed in Immanuel Baptist Church in Springfield, Va. Images courtesy of SageGlass.











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TAGS: architecture, daylight harvesting, design, lighting, shading, sustainability,


By Rachel Hayes

Natural light’s cost-saving and productivity-raising characteristics are no secret, and incorporating natural light as a major element of design is most often the rule and no longer an exception, especially since daylight harvesting considerations are now required by many local and national energy codes and standards, including California Title 24.

Daylight harvesting has evolved to have broad meaning, but at its core is a way of leveraging or manipulating natural light to meet the needs of a facility effectively and efficiently. To further maximize benefits, integrating daylight harvesting with other products and systems is now a growing trend.

… when motorized or fully automated, the products can be integrated with AVL systems and responsibilities, since natural light and its thermal byproducts certainly impact the worship experience.

In general, fully and semi-automated daylight harvesting products are falling under the control of building management systems where the light harvested naturally can be managed in concert with other auxiliary lighting systems. But a popular and specific point of integration is within AVL systems in worship spaces. Bill Maiman, marketing manager for MechoSystems, with U.S. offices in Long Island, N.Y., reports, “In a house of worship especially, natural light and a view will put attendees in a better frame of mind and they’ll be better able to receive the message—it’s a very calming effect. However, there’s nothing more annoying than for a window-backlit speaker to be in silhouette, or for the sun to be shining in on your arms.” These interferences and discomforts can be managed by many different products, including SolarTrac, ShadeLoc and Monumental Shades from MechoSystems, without eliminating natural lighting or views to the outside. And, when motorized or fully automated, the products can be integrated with AVL systems and responsibilities, since natural light and its thermal byproducts certainly impact the worship experience.

Other products syncing up with daylight harvesting include building envelope and façade systems. Light shelves, such as Luminance Light Shelves from YKK AP, are specified to work with facades and other elements of the building envelope to maximize thermal barriers and cast daylight farther into a building than a window alone—up to 25 feet, according to Steve Schohan, marketing and communications manager for YKK AP, with U.S. offices in Marietta, Ga.

In addition, natural light’s thermal properties make it a shoe-in for HVAC integration. Derek Malmquist, vice president of marketing for SageGlass based in Faribault, Minn., shares the story of a student center at a community college in the unusually warm town of Hayward outside of San Francisco: “They wanted to incorporate natural light and energy savings as much as possible and through [SageGlass] solar control windows were ultimately able to control the environment enough that an HVAC system wasn’t even required for the building.”

As technology and products continue to evolve, means of integrating them will, too.

Suntuitive from Pleotint

Suntuitive is a self-tinting window technology made from the same laminate used in car windshields—with the addition of Pleotint’s “special sauce.” Thermo chromic Suntuitive windows darken gradually and dynamically when heated by direct sunlight and are surprisingly simple to install, according to the company. There is no wiring and no electrical work required. The laminate glass has noise deadening properties, affords 100% UV blockage, and is available for operative windows, as well. (visit link)

SolarTrac from MechoSystems

The SolarTrac system utilizes a pre-programmed algorithm customized for the geospatial position of a building. By inputting calculations of the angle of the sun in different seasons, these motorized shades are able to move to predetermined positions to manage glare and control solar radiation while maintaining views to the outside. The system’s primary objective is keeping shades raised to maximize natural light while saving energy and reducing distractions caused by the sun shining into the building. (visit link)

ShadeLoc from MechoSystems

ShadeLoc is an award-winning motorized shade system that features side channels that enclose and hold the zippered edge of the shade to ensure that there are no light gaps. The design minimizes the need for shade-support hardware such as rollers, guide cables, or battens. The system can be used for solar, blackout, or a combination. Extrusions are available for linking multiple shades with one motor. (visit link)

EnerGfacade YCW 750 XT Curtain Wall from YKK AP

The enerGfacade is a product line of energy efficient façade systems and operable windows. The YCW 750 XT curtain wall system is equipped with YKK AP’s MegaTherm technology that uses structural polyamide struts and advanced glazing options. For structural integrity, the dead load of the insulating glass rests on integrated structural supports, diverting the load away from thermal barriers. The system yields best-in-class thermal performance and exceeds not only current codes, but also the most stringent green building codes and standards in the market today. Image courtesy of YKK AP. (visit link)  continued >>