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Enhanced Experience | Why Daylighting?

The cost of people in buildings is often 75 - 100 times greater than the cost of utility bills.

Prior to Edison's development of a practical, commercially viable electric lighting system, people spent most of their waking hours outdoors underneath Vitamin D-rich sunlight. Now, with artificial light available everywhere 24 hours a day, this has changed dramatically in the last 100 years with people spending most of their lives indoors beneath poor, unhealthy lighting conditions.

Steve Ternoey, a respected author and principal of LightForms, LLC, a California architectural firm specializing in daylight design, estimates that "the cost of people in buildings is often 75 - 100 times greater than the cost of utility bills". 1

According to Carnegie Melon University's Intelligent Workplace design studio, cutting energy use by 50% in a typical building usually saves about $1 per square foot. Boosting productivity in that same building by 5%, on the other hand, saves more than $10 per square foot. 2

Both of these figures above suggest that the savings gained from even a small increase in human productivity can far exceed the savings gained through a large reduction in a building's energy consumption.

Enhanced Experience | Why Daylighting?

Research also shows that:

  • Retail sales increase an average of 10% to 40% with the implementation of daylighting
  • School grades increase from 6% to 20% when compared to non day lit classrooms
  • Industrial savings include less absenteeism, higher productivity, better safety records

For more information regarding these and similar findings, refer to our Research Studies section.


1: 20-Year Cost of Owning and Operating an Office Building Source: Ternoey, S.E. et al, The Design of Energy Responsive Commercial Buildings, John Wiley & Sons, 1985
2: The non-profit Center for Energy &Climate Solutions' Cool Companies website, www.coolcompanies.org , 2002.