G l a s s T e c h  
The Right Kind of Light  
Striking Balance of Well-Being, Comfort and  
Productivity with Daylighting  
by Erin Fletcher  
ellness programs. Fitness classes.  
Telecommuting. Onsite childcare. Health semi-  
nars. There is no shortage of ideas that companies  
It’s clear that daylighting  
promises great outcomes.  
But how do you find the  
balance of using daylighting  
while providing energy  
efficiency, preventing glare  
and maintaining comfort in  
the built environment?”  
w
have tried and continue to implement in order to  
increase employee satisfaction in the workplace.  
For the last 20 years, the concept of work-life bal-  
ance and employee happiness has been an increas-  
ingly hot topic—and for good reason.  
According to a University of Warwick study in  
2
012, economists found happiness in the work-  
place made employees more than 12 percent more  
productive. Leading companies such as Zappos  
and Google take workplace happiness so seriously  
that they have high-level executive officers dedi-  
cated solely to the concept. And while it would  
be nice for all employers to implement ping pong  
tables, 24-7 cafeterias and meditation pods that  
look like giant football helmets dangling from the  
ceiling, not every workplace can be like Google.  
But there’s a simple, subtle component to  
Erin Fletcher  
Where Else?  
Increasing daylighting has also shown positive  
outcomes for both patients in healthcare settings  
and student performance in schools.  
workplace function that contributes greatly to  
employee well-being: daylighting and views.  
In fact, the benefits of daylight go beyond  
human well-being. Daylight has qualities that can-  
not be replicated by electrical light. With careful  
design and controls, daylighting also can substan-  
tially reduce lighting energy use. Typical office  
buildings use approximately 30 percent of their  
energy for lighting. A typical 30-foot-deep office  
Study Time  
In the Glass Association of North America’s  
(GANA) efforts to collate information on the  
benefits of creating spaces with improved daylight  
and/or views to the exterior, we found the follow- with dimming controls could save approximately  
ing outcomes:  
40 percent of lighting energy in conjunction with  
manually controlled blinds.  
The message about the strong benefits of  
daylighting and views is starting to sink in. A  
few years ago, a large coalition of advocates,  
20-percent increase in office worker cognitive  
test rates;  
39 additional work hours per year in office  
worker productivity;  
9- to 16-percent improved performance on visu- including GANA and the Glazing Industry  
al memory tests (however, experiencing glare  
actually decreased performance by 17 percent);  
15-percent decreased absenteeism in office  
workers;  
Decreased office worker turnover; and  
Reduced depression, improved sleep.  
Clearly, spaces with increased daylighting pro-  
Code Committee, had to fight off a proposal  
in ASHRAE 189.1 that would have reduced the  
allowable glazing area, inadvertently harming  
indoor environmental quality and occupant  
well-being. Now, this standard for high-perfor-  
mance green buildings has taken that message  
to heart, and is considering proposals to  
vide great human benefit. And it’s certainly not  
limited to the corporate workplace.  
continued on page 8  
6
www.glassguides.com  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal  
Gcontlinuaeds s T e c h  
expand requirements for daylighting and views.  
Quite the reversal.  
It’s clear that daylighting promises great out-  
comes. But how do you find the balance of using  
daylighting while providing energy efficiency,  
preventing glare and maintaining comfort in the  
built environment? Advancements in products  
and planning resources over the last few years  
have provided a variety of great solutions to these  
design challenges.  
How it’s Done  
Excessive glare can often be avoided through  
the use of low-E or partially reflective glass coat-  
ings. Tinted glass and patterned glass can be used  
to optimize the total light allowed in—not too  
much, not too little—without affecting views. And  
electrochromic glass offers great levels of control  
over light transmittance that can be varied both  
throughout the day and in different areas. In addi-  
tion, some textured films or surface treatments  
such as ceramic frit or acid-etching can also diffuse  
light and reduce glare. Finally, combining these  
decorative glass elements with low-E maximizes the  
amount of useful light allowed into the environ-  
ment while minimizing energy consumption.  
Admittedly, these are a lot of factors to consid-  
er in effective daylighting. Architects and design-  
ers should also consider factors such as the func-  
tion and geometry of the space, window location,  
interior reflectances, furniture layout, building  
type and direction, and more.  
Fresh Design  
The complexities of daylighting should not  
intimidate designers into ignoring its broad poten-  
tial. A creative combination of design strategy and  
innovative glass and glazing products can be used  
to provide building occupants with stimulating  
and comfortable environments.  
Mariano’s Fresh Market, Oak Lawn, IL  
Owner: Stony Creek LLC, Itasca, IL  
Architect: Camburas & Theodore, Des Plaines, IL  
General contractor: J. Divita & Associates, Spring Grove, IL  
Installing contractor: WBR Roofing, Wauconda, IL  
Profiles: Corrugated, Flat sheet  
Color: Silver Metallic  
Take a Look  
GANA has been exploring daylighting applica-  
tions and understands the needs of designers on  
this intriguing topic. Designers can find in-depth  
resources on our website and apply online to  
arrange in-person AIA-approved presentations.  
Our Decorative Division will also soon offer a  
complimentary Glass Informational Bulletin  
PAC-CLAD metal panels contributed to the de-  
sign vision in a way other materials couldn’t.”  
The design flexibility and economic value of  
PAC-CLAD  
Corrugated  
Domenic Pezzuto, senior project architect,  
Camburas & Theodore Ltd.  
Silver Metallic - Energy Star - Cool Color  
(GIB) on the benefits of decorative glass in day-  
CASE STUDY  
lighting applications. To access the GANA library  
of more than 50 free GIBs and other technical  
resources, visit www.glasswebsite.com. AGG  
Erin Fletcher is the director of marketing and  
communications for the Glass Association of North  
America in Topeka, Kan.  
PAC-CLAD.COM  
MD: 1 800 344 1400 | TX: 1 800 441 8661 | GA: 1 800 272 4482 | MN: 1 877 571 2025  
| IL: 1 800 PAC CLAD  
8
www.glassguides.com  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal