GREEN BUILDING: Lighting and Daylighting
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David K. Horvath, GMB, CAPS, CGP, LEED-AP
General Manager, Certified Builder
Office: (615) 791-5678
Cell: (615) 319-0000
Lighting adds to the aesthetics and usability of any home. It also accounts for nearly 15 percent of the average home's electric bill. Fortunately, homeowners can take easy, relatively inexpensive steps to reduce the cost and energy consumed in lighting their home. Using energy-efficient lights, fixtures, and controls can have a significant and favorable impact on home lighting costs. New lighting technology can provide energy savings of 50 to 75 percent over the common incandescent light bulb which has a short life, generates a lot of heat, and produces less light per watt of energy. A variety of green lighting product choices are available to the homeowner:
Fluorescent: Fluorescent lamps use only 25 to 30 percent of the energy consumed by incandescent light bulbs to provide the same amount of illumination. Fluorescent lamps also last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. These benefits and improvements in the color rendition, low operation temperature, and the use of electronic ballasts has increased the energy efficiency and eliminated the flicker and noise of this type of lighting.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs): Compact fluorescent lamps combine the energy efficiency of fluorescent lamps with the convenience and popularity of incandescent bulbs. CFLs can replace incandescent bulbs with three to four times the wattage, saving 75 percent of lighting energy. While CFLs can cost 3 to 10 times more than incandescent lamps, they last 6 to 15 times longer. This longer life combined with significantly lower energy use more than offsets the higher initial price of CFLs. These lamps work much like a standard fluorescent and contain a ballast and gas filled tube. They are designed to screw into a lighting fixture just like standard incandescent lamps. CFLs are especially beneficial in areas where lights are left on for long periods of time and because of their long operating life, CFLs are ideal for hard-to-reach areas.
Solid State Lighting: The next frontier of lighting technology is solid state lighting (SSL) utilizing light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).
LEDs have been around since the 1960s, but they are just now reaching the levels of luminous output and power that open the door to more applications. LEDs offer energy efficiency, maintenance savings, impact resistance, and durability. OLEDs are based on organic (carbon based) materials. In contrast to LEDs, which are small point sources, OLEDs are made in sheets which provide a diffuse area light source. OLED technology is developing rapidly and is increasingly used in display applications such as cell phones and PDA screens.
Daylighting is the use of highly energy-efficient windows and skylights to bring more natural light into a home. It is the perfect complement to energy-efficient home lighting. Daylighting reduces energy demand for interior lighting. Homes that actively incorporate daylighting will be less reliant on artificial indoor lighting during the day and will enjoy quality, natural light. Maximum benefits from daylighting are best obtained when it is integrated into the design and positioning of a new home.
South-facing windows are most advantageous for daylighting and for moderating seasonal temperatures. They allow most winter sunlight into the home but little direct sun during the summer, especially when properly shaded. North-facing windows are also advantageous for daylighting. They admit relatively even, natural light, producing little glare and almost no unwanted summer heat gain.
Although east- and west-facing windows provide good daylight penetration in the morning and evening, respectively, they should be limited. They may cause glare, admit a lot of heat during the summer when it is usually not wanted, and contribute little to solar heating during the winter.
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