The energy-saving goals that we have achieved so far using LEDs for interior lighting are very impressive and commendable. Our lighting loads have now been reduced to 0.5w per square ft, which means there isn’t much light left to be saved. Nevertheless, the daylight and lighting expert James Benya of Benya Burnett Consultancy has just completed a building that consumes less than 0.4w per sq ft for lighting by the ingenious application of daylight.
According to Benya, there are several downsides to using daylight. For instance, allowing some of the sun’s infrared rays in through your window might lead to too much heat gain. In addition to this, it can be helpful if a building is rectangular, with its main axis inclined in the east-west direction. Moreover, if the site is further south in latitude, the easier it is to generate electricity from the building’s solar panels on its envelope and site. Adding a microgrid for electrical storage when neither the grid nor building needs it allows you to store more energy, which helps you to lower your peak power and reduce your electricity bills.
Apart from solar power, there are other energy resources that can be used for energy distribution. Wind power, for example, is capable of generating more electricity than solar and water power. In case a site is located in close proximity to a water body and a hill, electricity can be generated by pumping water when electricity rates are low and used as an alternative to grid power when electricity rates are high due to demand.
In some European countries, there are numerous programs that have been established to phase out all fossil fuels and switch to electricity. The U.S Department of Energy has also made it mandatory for all newly constructed buildings after 2030 to consume Zero Net Energy. Some of the recently constructed energy-saving buildings have initial costs similar to normal buildings, albeit with larger savings during operations.
Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design firms are at the forefront of the daylight savings innovations. These companies have been providing variable refrigerant flow piping to deliver conditioned refrigerant rather than conditioned air. This helps to cut down the cost and depth of room plenums which allows for brighter or taller room ceilings
Today, there are numerous and more efficient forms of insulation that can be used. Some of these include multi-thickness glazing (which helps to block the sun’s infrared rays), greater water savings treatment and savings, and the use of green roofs to collect water and reduce the impact of the sun’s rays.
It remains to be seen what kind of innovations will emerge in the world of daylight savings. However, we can expect the shift towards electrical energy and more daylight saving technologies to continue in the coming years. We can also expect that future buildings will be fully reliant on green energy and daylight savings as companies try to conserve energy and cut down on their electricity bills.