November 19, 2018

Daylight in Big Box Retail Stores

“Natural daylight increases sales for two reasons: it both enhances visual acuity and governs biological metabolism.” 

Eneref institute examines how retail lighting can mitigate climate change and also increase in store sales.

Big-box retailers have a unique opportunity to increase in-store sales through better lighting design. Scientific evidence demonstrates that a 40% increase in retail sales can be achieved with precisely positioned skylights.

According to the research, natural interior daylight is effective because it creates a more hospitable shopping environment. More significantly, natural daylight has a net-zero carbon footprint to motivate ecologically conscious customers.

Retailers who incorporate skylights join a long line of success stories. In a mid-1980s study by the U.S. Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin discovered significant humancentric benefits by including skylights in their office space, in what was originally planned as an energy reduction project to reduce lighting costs. Lockheed was surprised to see an increase in employee productivity from their 2,700 engineers as a result of bringing natural light into the office. Furthermore, there was a 15% drop in employee absenteeism. The productivity increase easily recovered the full cost of the building construction in just one year.

What popularized skylights for large chain retailers was the extraordinary sales increase that Walmart achieved when they designed their first energy-efficient model store in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1993.


A simple 1% increase in productivity can pay 100% of the annual energy expense of a facility.

Report in Progress