Design Guidelines: Skylighting Guidelines

February 23, 2014
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The Skylighting Guidelines, 2nd  Edition, were prepared to help designers optimize the use of skylights in commercial and industrial buildings. Many of the lighting Skylighting Design Guidelines _coverprinciples covered here are also applicable to residential buildings. They describe opportunities for high quality lighting design and explain how to integrate skylights with the design of other building elements. They show how to estimate the potential energy savings and cost savings. Finally, they help designers avoid mistakes that could reduce the value of a skylight design.

The use of skylights continues to grow, both because they enliven building interiors and because they can save energy and money through daylighting. Skylighting (skylights plus daylight controls) can be a solid asset for almost any building, and help to satisfy human needs for building owners and occupants.

When properly designed, skylights can make a number of major contributions to the built environment:

  • Skylights provide high quality lighting conditions to building interiors
  • Skylights reduce the use of electric lighting, to save energy and reduce peak electric loads, when combined with effective photosensor control systems
  • Skylights provide visual and thermal comfort for building occupants
  • Skylights increase safety and security with highly reliable daytime lighting
  • Skylights provide emergency smoke vents

This report, first published in 1998, ranks among the most popular Energy Design Resources. For this second edition (2014), the authors have updated passages affected by advances in technology, building practices, and changes in the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24).

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