Right To Daylight

DAYLIGHT IS A NATURAL RIGHT

Our Initiative encourages homeowners, architects, and building owners to use daylight as a primary light source.

Right To Daylight is a campaign to enjoy nicer lighting in our buildings and homes and reduce our carbon emissions.

DAYLIGHT IN A HOME

Proper lighting makes your home feel open. It’s easier to read, cook, and even enjoy colors. Natural interior daylight in your home brightens the mood.

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WE WANT DAYLIGHT

Natural interior daylight offers a multitude of benefits beyond energy savings. It is the highest quality light source available for interior environments and provides excellent color rendering and color balance.

In commercial buildings, natural interior daylight is one of the fastest greenhouse gas reducing paybacks you can buy, because it shrinks both energy bills and re-lamping maintenance costs. The fact is, introducing daylight into buildings provides energy savings, excellent lighting quality and more beautiful interior spaces.

  1. Does natural interior daylighting pay for itself?

    The biggest payback of natural daylight is the value of a high-quality interior environment. When people feel better they perform better.

    Lighting accounts for roughly one-third of the electricity used by commercial or educational facilities in the United States. Whereas natural interior daylight requires no energy beyond sunlight. And Natural interior daylight is about 10-times more efficient than rooftop PV cells for lighting a room.

  2. Should natural interior daylight be used in schools?

    There is plenty of evidence that natural interior daylight actually improves student grades in schools. Especially in learning environments, daylight provides a natural and stimulating space for teachers and students.

    While studies show that poor lighting adversely affects learning, daylighting has been proven to increase student performance in math and reading scores, as well as improving attendance.

    Here’s a two-minute video of what teachers have said.

  3. How do workers preform under natural interior daylight?

    Studies show that office workers have few sick days. And factories that employ natural interior daylight experience few product defects. In fact, the human performance gains outweigh the energy savings, where human performance can be measured in financial terms.

    Gains from daylight harvesting are significant to raise morale, increase productivity for numerous industries, and even increase retail sales.

    Here’s a two-minute video of what warehouse workers have said.

  4. Is natural daylight healthier than electric lights?

    Sunlight helps govern our 24-hour internal circadian clock, which regulates sleep patterns, core body temperature, brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, and other biological activities.

    Studies have shown that natural light improves patient wellness and recovery as well as health care worker productivity and retention. It can even speed patient recovery and help with pain management.

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COMMERCIAL

Large Skylights Lead Sustainability Effort for Rooms To Go Warehouse

The decisions behind installing a lighting system that combined daylight with LED.

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The bulk of those efforts has been in the area of minimizing their energy footprint. A significant part of their energy-savings has been the installation of over 300 large domed skylights.

Rooms To Go is a chain of furniture stores that has grown to 226 outlets across the United States since its founding by Jeffrey Seaman in 1990. Even as the company has rapidly expanded, they have chosen to engage environmental stewardship as a way to enhance their leadership position within the retail furniture industry. Read the full story.

“The choice to install skylights at Dunn was the right one,” says Rooms To Go Senior Construction Manager Bruce Wallick. “And daylight-capturing sensors in the skylights save the company money.” 

“We’re very satisfied with the light that we’re getting,” says Rooms To Go Senior Construction Manager Bruce Wallick. “All the warehouses are going to continue to have skylights.”

Lighting Project Brings Natural Daylight Into Karndean Warehouse

Karndean is an international vinyl tile flooring manufacturer with their US headquarters and warehouse near Pittsburgh, PA. In this facility, the company has moved aggressively toward environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Read the full story.

“We looked for opportunities to leverage best practices,” said Bill Anderson Vice President of Operations of Karndean. “And we definitely made the right decision. But it is even better to hear the reaction of our employees.”

“You go into the new warehouse and the impact is like, ‘Wow,’” said Chris Wettling, Warehouse Manager for Karndean. “We never had any outside light coming into the middle of our warehouse. Even when we had our doors open, daylight very rarely made it to the middle part of our warehouse,” he said. 

A holistic approach to lighting improves morale and performance in a warehouse facility.

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Karndean has won ‘Top Workplaces’ by Workplace Dynamics and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette four years in a row, based solely on employee feedback. And in 2015 the company constructed a new warehouse and distribution center employing an innovative lighting system designed to significantly reduce energy use while improving the work environment.

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Residential Living Centers

Natural Interior Daylight Brightens Craft Studios in NY State Camphill Village

Natural interior daylight saves on energy while creating a healthy work environment.

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A key design element of the new studio buildings was the use of natural interior daylight as a primary light source.

Founded in 1961, Camphill Village in Copake, NY was part of a movement to change how society treats people with special needs. Because Camphill Village encourages and honors the individuality and creativity of its residents with special needs, a large-scale construction was planned for their four diverse, onsite craft studios. The goal of the two new buildings was to further Camphill’s mission to provide an environment where each resident has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential. Read the full story.

“We use natural fabrics— mostly wool from sheep, some merino, some chenille, a little bit of cotton. And we dye it ourselves,” said Rose Airing, Weavery Manager. “In the right kind of natural light we can see a more realistic picture of all our colors, the slight differences.” 

“The decision to use daylighting was almost automatic for us—it’s in our nature,” explained Jos Smeele, Director of Camphill Infrastructure. “We’re very rural, we live in a beautiful area, so we make use of daylight as much as we can in all the construction we do.”

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INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES

Tubular Daylight Devices Dramatically Brighten Detroit Gear Manufacturing Plant

Bonn is Facilities Coordinator for one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of high precision gears for the automobile and aerospace industry. “Just seeing the daylight that comes out of these things is absolutely amazing,” explains Keith Bonn, describing the natural interior daylight system installed in Delta Gear’s new 72,000 sq. ft. facility. Read the full story.

“We were able to optimize and maximize our natural light and reduce energy costs, which made the sun tubes an incredibly beneficial aspect of our remodeled facilities,” said President and owner Bob Sakuta.

“The interior coating, as you look up inside of it, is extremely reflective,” said Joe Hammond General Contractor.  

Daylight tubes significantly increased a plant’s light levels without adding energy costs.

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To achieve the high level of light in the facility, Delta Gear hired General Contractor Joe Hammond to install seventy-nine commercial Sun Tunnel skylights. Sun Tunnels are tubular-shaped devices that transfer daylight through a twenty-two-inch diameter tunnel made of highly reflective aluminum material.

Roofing Project Drives Natural Daylight into Volvo Truck Plant

Volvo group truck plant reduced their energy load with natural interior daylight.

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In 2010, just one year into a ten-year energy reduction challenge issued by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the plant became the first facility in the nation to meet the goal.

Volvo Group North America has taken a leading role in demonstrating the benefits of natural interior daylight at their largest facility, the New River Valley Cab & Vehicle Assembly plant where all Volvo Trucks for North America are assembled. Read the full story.

“The skylights alone provide between fifty and seventy lumens,” said Daniel Kimball, VP Sales for CentiMark Roofing. “Even with a skylight thirty-six feet high, the light doesn’t fluctuate more than one foot candle between them.” 

“Very early on, the skylights were really one of the first items to kickstart the whole energy program,” said Mike Kijak, Facilities and Energy Manager for the New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia.

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MANUFACTURING PLANTS

Roofing Project Drives Natural Daylight into Volvo Truck Plant

Volvo Group North America has taken a leading role in demonstrating the benefits of natural interior daylight at their largest facility, the New River Valley Cab & Vehicle Assembly plant where all Volvo Trucks for North America are assembled. Read the full story.

“The skylights alone provide between fifty and seventy lumens,” said Daniel Kimball, VP Sales for CentiMark Roofing. “Even with a skylight thirty-six feet high, the light doesn’t fluctuate more than one foot candle between them.” 

“Very early on, the skylights were really one of the first items to kickstart the whole energy program,” said Mike Kijak, Facilities and Energy Manager for the New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia.

Volvo group truck plant reduced their energy load with natural interior daylight.

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In 2010, just one year into a ten-year energy reduction challenge issued by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the plant became the first facility in the nation to meet the goal.

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RETAIL FACILITIES

Large Skylights Lead Sustainability Effort for Rooms To Go Warehouse

The decisions behind installing a lighting system that combined daylight with LED.

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The bulk of those efforts has been in the area of minimizing their energy footprint. A significant part of their energy-savings has been the installation of over 300 large domed skylights.

Rooms To Go is a chain of furniture stores that has grown to 226 outlets across the United States since its founding by Jeffrey Seaman in 1990. Even as the company has rapidly expanded, they have chosen to engage environmental stewardship as a way to enhance their leadership position within the retail furniture industry. Read the full story.

“The choice to install skylights at Dunn was the right one,” says Rooms To Go Senior Construction Manager Bruce Wallick. “And daylight-capturing sensors in the skylights save the company money.” 

“We’re very satisfied with the light that we’re getting,” says Rooms To Go Senior Construction Manager Bruce Wallick. “All the warehouses are going to continue to have skylights.”

Daylighting Turns Store into A Destination For West Texas Supermarket

When it came time to build the largest supermarket in Lubbock, Texas, the management of United Grocery didn’t want their carbon footprint to reflect the size of their gigantic store. So they turned to the wide open West Texas sky to light up their space. Read the full story.

“Maybe you’ve heard: we get quite a bit of sunshine here,” jokes Rob Bichard, Director of Facilities Support and Development for United. “Why not take advantage of it?” 

“Our employees are really positive about them,” said John Jameson, the in-store manager for the new Lubbock facility. “And I’ve had a lot of customers comment, too. People appreciate that we’re trying to be green.”

Bringing daylight into grocery store using skylights increased foot traffic.

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From the day they broke ground, daylight harvesting skylights was an integral component of the new grocery store plan.

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INSTITUTIONAL BUILDINGS

Architects Choose Modular Glass Skylights for Cornell University

New modular skylights modernize space at cornell department of architecture.

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The challenge was how to modernize East Sibley Hall’s third floor in line with the college’s goals of co-locating faculty offices adjacent to student’s studios and creating a collaborative, multiuse space; maintain the integrity of the designated historic building; and satisfy the discriminating needs of the Cornell AAP architecture faculty.

As one of the most iconic college structures in the United States, the 19th-century Sibley Hall dome has been a visual reference point on the Cornell University campus for 122 years. East Sibley Hall is home to Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (Cornell AAP), whose Department of Architecture is one of the world’s most prestigious architecture programs. Originally constructed in the late 1800s, by the early 2000s Sibley Hall had undergone numerous transformations. Read the full story.

“We wanted to have as much daylight and visibility as made sense,” said Feuerstein, Architect with Leven Betts Studio. “We were looking for the best-looking, high-performance, most minimal skylight.”

Betts concurred, “We thought the modular skylight design was beautiful.” “There were many ways in which the modular system was advantageous,” said architect Stella Betts., Partner of Leven Betts “

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MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS

Municipality Brings Natural Light into New Ashburn, Virginia Firehouse

Architect Peter Edivan specified tubular skylights to transform a 21st-century-firehouse into a showcase of sustainability and traditional 19th-century building design. Read the full story.

“Actually, in daylight mode, the light coming out is quite intense. They’re probably even a little bit brighter than the hallway lights alone,” said Stan Murphy, the Fire Station Project Manager. 

“ven at night, you can see the moonlight coming through them… like the lights are on,” explained Mike Bromley, the contractor of Chamberlain Construction Corporation who installed the skylights.

Tubular daylight devices brought modern features to a 19th-century building design.

Sun Tunnels, long tubular skylights, brought daylight from the rooftop of the Ashburn, Virginia, firehouse into the building’s interior. Sun Tunnels are designed to minimize light loss through the tube, resulting in brighter illumination into the interior space.

Natural Interior Daylight Brings Light and Joy To Berkeley West Library

The number of patrons using the library increases with the installation of skylights.

While the previous library building had floor-to-ceiling windows, the challenges inherent to natural interior daylight design were not considered. Eventually, the tall windows in the older building were covered with book shelves, blocking out all the natural light (and fading the books).

The West Branch Library is a completely new building, designed to comply with the City of Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan. To achieve the goal set by the Climate Action Plan, every new building Berkeley constructs needs to be a Zero Net Energy building, according to Gerard Lee, an architect with Harley Ellis Devereaux. In no small part, Lee credits the quality of the space to the natural interior daylight the design team created—including windows and skylights. Read the full story.

“Having beautiful spaces was really important,” explains librarian Sarah Denton, “and a large part of that was having daylight available at the branch.” Denton, is the Manager for Branch and Children’s Services for City of Berkeley, Berkeley Public Library, West Branch Library.

“I think patrons enjoy spending time here,” observed Amanda Myers, the branch librarian.“ I think it’s a beautiful building. I think that we all enjoy it.”

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SCHOOL BUILDINGS

Teachers Preferred Natural Daylight Inside Pennsylvania Elementary School

Wilson Elementary is a public school in the West Allegheny School District near Pittsburgh, PA. When engineering firm Thomas & Williamson distributed a survey to school staff, they came back with notable findings.  Seventy-one percent of the teachers expressed keen interest in having natural interior daylight in their classrooms. Read the full story.

“We don’t have to have the lights on at all some days, and the light in my room is enough for me to teach,” exclaimed Terisa Sharlow, the Wilson music teacher.

Benefits of lighting controls with natural interior daylight in classrooms.

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The installation of skylights and LED lighting controls at Wilson Elementary, along with the electrical system upgrade, brought huge energy savings for the school. Buildings Director Ken Fibbi notes that the school’s electrical consumption fell from about 1.5 million kWh in 2013 to around 740,000 kWh in2015—meaning that this project more than halved the school’s annual energy use.

Roofing Repair Program Brings Natural Light into Massachusetts School

A rooftop repair program was employed to brighten a Massachusetts middle school.

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While for one middle school, roof replacement was the primary objective of the project, the program provided an opportunity to significantly upgrade the existing old-style dome-shaped skylights.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority optimized a rooftop repair program with a code-compliant, energy-saving natural interior daylight system that enhanced the school building’s interior environment. Read the full story.

“We’re all about natural light, and we will pay for skylights that meet the requirements, but that’s a decision that the architect and the district makes,” said Jack McCarthy, Executive Director, Massachusetts School Building Authority.

“If you were in the school interior, you couldn’t even see that the skylights were up there,” said Phillip Williams, Energy Manager, Town of Ashland.

Daylighting Brightens Science Classroom for Texas Junior High School

William Teal is a science teacher at Alvin Junior High School in Texas, who has benefited from his classroom’s recent retrofit with rooftop tubular daylighting devices. Read the full story.

“Overall it’s great – the kids definitely enjoy having natural light in there,” declared Teal. “It’s just a much more natural feel.”

Tubular daylight devices save energy with a cost effective retrofit.

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While he appreciates the look and feel of the new daylighting system installed in his science classroom, what really sold Teal was the Texas-sized thunderstorm that knocked out a transformer leaving the school without electricity. The entire school went dark, except for Teal’s classroom. In fact, the rooftop daylighting system is even “high-velocity hurricane zone” approved.

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RESIDENTIAL HOMES

Natural Daylight Makes Home a Showplace In Winter Park, Florida

Design, Art, and Nature Combine To Create Beauty and Sustainability.

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LaPiana said the venting feature of the skylights, designed to allow heat and VOCs throughout the house to exit while letting fresh air in, would be a “nice supplemental way to get rid of any cooking odors or steam smoke” in the kitchen.

Winter Park, Florida proved to be an ideal site for Bill Cook Luxury Homes to showcase “The Oasis,” a new two-story residential property highlighted with natural interior daylight. Although multi-million dollar homes are the area’s standard, this property is 100 feet wide by 150 feet deep, larger than what is typical. The facade of the home was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the interior is a blend of modern and traditional elements using natural materials. Read the full story

“Mainly, I wanted the skylights to light up that space and punch through the envelope, and see some daylight,” says James LaPiana, an architect with The Evans Group, the firm that designed the home. “Otherwise, you feel like you’re walking into something that has no exit, visually.”

Venting Skylights Bring the Outdoors Inside for Lake Michigan Home

The single-story house, with 240 feet of prime footage facing Lake Michigan, was originally built in 1956 to serve as a goose hunting cabin. Choosing to add on to the existing structure rather than demolish and rebuild, the homeowners began extensive modifications and additions soon after purchasing the home.

Due to a chimney effect, the open skylights draw fresh air through the windows and doors from the lake and cools the house. This minimizes the need for air conditioning. Read the full story.

“It makes the room look even more open and airy,” said the homeowner. “It makes you feel good to have all that light, and to be able to see the sky. You don’t feel so closed in.”

Solar powered venting skylights bring in fresh air and reduce the HVAC load.

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At the direction of the owners, the architect designed an atrium enclosed with a ceiling of skylights. The architect specified fourteen 4’ by 4’ curb-mounted, solar-powered venting VELUX skylights. The room also features a bank of sliding-glass doors and large windows.

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WAREHOUSE FACILITIES

Innovative Commercial Skylights Installed by Global 500 Realtor

A warehouse space managed by CBRE installed an innovative daylighting system.

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CBRE’s management knows that natural interior daylight has a positive impact on workplace health and productivity and, as such, skylights were incorporated in the warehouse space that CBRE leased to VELUX Company—themselves a leading manufacturer of skylights.

As the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, CBRE plays an important leadership role in determining industry best practices within the 5 billion square feet of building facility space they manage. Read the full story

“If we do another building, then I will definitely look into it and actually ask for a proposal for them to provide the skylights for the jobs.” — General contractor, Paul Slocum of Montane Building Group.

“We found it simply does a better job when the sun is low in the sky,” explains Mark Jongewaard of LTI Optics, whose study demonstrated the efficiency and lumen output of the Dynamic Dome. “The device brings in a usable amount of light earlier and later in the day.”

January 2017

Eneref to Meet With UN on Daylighting

Eneref Institute is developing a “Daylighting Brief” to present directly to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN Environmental Program and the UN World Health Organization.

February 2016

Report: Massachusetts School

Eneref Institute examines how a rooftop repair program was employed to brighten a Massachusetts Middle School.

December 2015

Eneref Launches First in a Series of Videos

Eneref Institute, a leading advocate for sustainable development, announces the launch of its Natural Interior Daylight (NID) Video Series to encourage greater use of sunlight as a primary light source in homes and buildings. Read More

December 2015

Report: Karndean Warehouse

Eneref Institute examines how a holistic approach to lighting improves morale and performance in a warehouse facility.

December 2015

Daylighting for US Department of Defense

Working with leading lighting designers and architects, Eneref Institute delivers the military’s Architectural Best Practices for daylighting. Our marching orders from the Pentagon are to return with “evidence-based” comments in support of daylighting.

October 2015

Report: Volvo Truck Plant

Eneref Institute examines how Volvo Group truck plant reduced their energy load with natural interior daylight.

September 2015

Report: NY Camphill Community

Eneref Institute examines how natural interior daylight saves on energy while creating a healthy work environment.

June 2015

Report: Lake Michigan Home

Eneref Institute examines how solar powered venting skylights bring in fresh air and reduce the HVAC load.

May 2015

NID Virtual Campus Launched

Eneref Institute launched the Natural Interior Daylight (NID) nitiative webpage targeting building owners and homeowners. View the website, here.

March 2015

Report: Gear Manufacturer

Eneref Institute examines how daylight tubes significantly increased a plant’s light levels without adding energy costs.

January 2015

Eneref Provides NEMA Content

NEMA (National Electric Manufacturers Association) publishes a Building Owner’s Toolkit for the High Performance Building Council. Eneref Institute has authored the paragraphs describing daylighting for the Toolkit. Eneref’s NEMA text can be found here.

August 2014

Report: Winter Park Florida

Eneref Institute reports how design, art and nature combine to create beauty and sustainability.

May 2014

Why Natural Interior Daylight

When we began the Natural Interior Daylight initiative, we gave the name a great deal of thought. Read More.

May 2014

Report: Berkeley West Library

Eneref Institute examines how the number of patrons using the library increases with the installation of skylights.

May 2014

Eneref Builds Team of Daylighting Advisors

Eneref Institute’s Natural Daylighting Initiative is grateful to benefit from some of the world’s leading lighting designers.  

February 2014

Eneref Published Daylighting Report

The Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society published Eneref Institute’s report on the daylighting market in the February, 2014 issue of LD+A. Download here.

September 2013

Report: Texas Junior High School

Eneref Institute examines how the right tubular daylighting devices save energy with a cost effective retrofit.

January 2013

Natural Interior Daylight initiative launched

Eneref Institute  announces the launch of their Natural Interior Daylight (NID) initiative.  Multiple lighting studies have demonstrated increased health and human productivity benefits for students and employees in spaces with properly designed natural interior daylight. Daylight harvesting, including windows, skylights and tubular daylighting devices, in place of or in conjunction with traditional electric lighting, also significantly reduces a building’s energy load. Read More.

FAQ: Why don't we see more natural interior daylight in buildings today?

Eneref Institute has identified seven primary reasons we don’t see more natural interior daylight in our buildings. To learn the seven market obstacles to daylighting, download Eneref Institute’s report.