Lighting the way to great energy efficiency

With energy bills higher than ever and CO2 emissions still top of the agenda, it's not surprising that building designers are increasingly looking for smart solutions to address these issues. One potential area providing immediate results is building corridors and walkways, where tubular daylighting devices can deliver instant and sizeable savings. Corridors in buildings such as schools, offices, care homes and hospitals are particularly suited to this solution owing to building configuration and occupancy hours.

Not just light at the end of the tunnel... Probably the easiest, and arguably the most overlooked, areas of a building that can offer the potential for significant energy savings are the corridors and hallways. These areas tend to be locked into the heart of a building, often devoid of any natural light and therefore having to be lit by artificial means. They are, however, perfect candidates for tubular daylighting devices.

Corridors usually require a light level of between 100 and 200 lux. Solatube Daylighting Systems easily have the potential to deliver this level of light during the vast proportion of the year. A school, for example, may need to supplement the corridor lighting with artificial units only during the winter months in the last hour or so of the day. Twenty-four hour facilities, such as hospitals, will need additional electric lighting, but could still expect to reduce their consumption by around 30% over the course of a year.

Avery Health Care has employed Solatube Daylighting Systems in their new care facility in Chapel Brampton where 31 Solatube 160 DS units have been installed to provide light to the first floor corridor. In addition to reducing energy usage by around 50%, the corridors also benefit from the more pleasant working and living environment that only natural daylight can bring.

Sunfield School in Clent have incorporated Solatube Daylighting Systems into the corridors of a new extension at their facility for children with special needs and learning difficulties. The Solatube 330 DS units (530mm diameter) are linked to movement and light sensors so that the electric lights switch on only if required.

At the Borders General Hospital in Scotland, Solatube Daylighting Systems have been used extensively to illuminate the top floor corridors. As part of a major roof refurbishment, Solatube Daylighting Systems replaced the old traditional roof lights that had been originally installed.

The use of tubular daylighting devices bought many benefits to the building over the original roof lights; better light delivery to the corridors which in turn reduced the need for electric light, total integration with the suspended ceiling system, and far greater security and safety on the roof.

Built in the mid 1960's, the corridors of the Environment Agency at Brampton had their lights permanently switched on. As part of a programme to dramatically reduce costs and carbon emissions, the entire network of corridors that run through the length of the building were day lit using twenty-nine Solatube 160 DS units.

The installation proved to be such a success with the staff that a programme of installing further systems has recently been completed. For the second phase, twenty-three Solatube 290 DS units have been employed to light the offices so that all the building's lights can be switched off during the day.

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