Let There Be Light: Daylighting & Lighting

Studies show that daylit spaces in classrooms, building lobbies (and residence halls) create better places for learning, productivity, health and just plain living.

Quite simply, this important feature reduces the need for electric light by introducing natural light into a building. Although the new Deep Green Residence Hall is not used extensively during the daytime except on weekends, opportunities still exist to naturally light virtually every part of the building.

Here, daylighting design began by orienting the building along an east-west axis, which makes daylighting control easier and more effective on the north and south facades. Very large casement windows, plus a transom above, makes for generous daylighting in each student room; in fact, tall window heights make the rooms feel much larger. Low-e glazing cuts down on solar heat gain while allowing plenty of outside light in through the glass. Within the central lobby and student study lounges, large glazed openings create a spacious, “open loft” feel.

High-efficiency lighting systems also play a role in keeping the building safe, well lit and comfortable. Most interior fixtures are surface or recessed fluorescents (T-5 lamps and high quality electronic ballasts). Student rooms also feature LED task lighting to minimize energy demand and maximize the quality and control of light output. Lighting controls help to keep daily life in the residence hall smart and energy efficient as well. These include occupancy sensors for student rooms (in case no one’s home), combined with daylight photo sensors for hallways and common areas as usage and/or outdoor lighting conditions dictate. Along with timers and automatic lighting shutoffs, these technologies all serve to lower energy consumption and comply with the sustainable practices of LEED.

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