September 15, 2014

Why “Natural Interior Daylight”

[NEWS] When we began the Natural Interior Daylight initiative, we gave the name a great deal of thought. 

We focus grouped numerous terms, and determined ‘daylighting’ was too often confused with other technologies, such as, photovoltaic. Whereas, ‘natural interior daylight’ received the highest level of understanding in our focus group.

Part of our research for the initiative was published in LD+A magazine. Here is a link to: “The Seven Market Obstacles to Daylighting.”  Essentially, we determined that daylighting needed a make-over.

If we were to start from scratch–if there were no such thing as the term “daylighting”—based on our research we would advise against the term “daylighting.” Well, the fact is, we are essentially starting from scratch. Outside of the professional world of architects and lighting designers, few Americans understand the terminology or the benefits of daylighting.

Further, daylighting is losing ground to photovoltaic. And as solid-state lighting grows less expensive and efficient, the energy value of daylighting can be called into question. In fact, there are many areas within the built environment that offer new energy efficiencies, unavailable not long ago. Daylighting needed to reinvent itself.

Eliminate the word “natural” and the term “interior daylight” could be construed as an electric luminaire that offers the full spectral electromagnetic radiation similar to the sun: in other words, artificial sunlight. Also, the word “natural” is a very effective selling word.

Our focus group found that “natural interior daylight” was the least confusing term. And our research showed that If someone were to read one of our reports and walk in to a shop and ask for shading or light shelves or tubular devices, they would not be confused if they didn’t see the term “natural interior daylight” on the box.

Our goal is to get media attention, government attention and consumer attention. To get there, we asked ourselves, how can we make daylighting as ubiquitous as LEDs. While few people probably understand what a light emitting diode is, or solid-state lighting, everyone knows that an LED is a new kind of light source.

Our longterm strategy is to move the term “natural interior daylight” towards the acronym “NID.” In that way, people can choose between installing either LEDs or NIDs.

The NEMA daylighting group is looking to change the term “daylighting” to, “solar lighting.” While that would be a good idea to encourage legislators to incentivize daylighting installations, from a our advocacy perspective it would be counterproductive.

We reviewed the term, “natural interior daylight” with our team of lighting designers and received unanimous support.