13th June 2016

There is more focus than ever on how the construction industry can continue to support the reduction in energy consumption for residential and commercial buildings.  Increased information-based economic activity has brought more and more workers indoors, requiring them to have improved illumination. Our population now spend longer times indoors, both at home and in businesses.

Considering lighting costs and environmental issues for the industrialized world today, there is a financial incentive to use higher-efficiency lighting and a responsibility to design sustainable buildings. Hybrid lighting is an ultra-low energy lighting strategy that considers both cost and user friendliness. 

Hybrid lighting systems are produced by a combination of four technologies: collecting natural light, generating artificial light, transporting and distributing light to where it is needed, and continuously controlling the amounts of both natural and artificial light during usage.

Monodraught and Photonstar have developed Sunpipe® Luxloop which maximises the benefits of both Sunpipe and Luxloop systems. During daylight hours, the Sunpipe collects healthy natural light with its patented high impact acrylic diamond dome, directs it through the MICRO-SILVER® mirror-finished aluminium tube and distributes it evenly through the ceiling diffuser. The system is complimented by Photonstar™ advanced Luxloop LED system and intelligently managed by the Halcyon™ wireless control system.  The integration of SUNPIPE increases the life of the LEDs and leads to fewer replacements.  SUNPIPE is proven and tested to maintain its performance over long periods of time.  The quadruple glazed system minimises heat-loss gain and achieves high thermal performance.  The result is a complete and ultra-low energy lighting system suitable for any location with guaranteed lighting performance expected to have a lifetime of 50,000-100,000 hours.  

For the end-user, exposure to natural lighting is believed to have the following benefits by boosting the production of specific vitamins and hormones (dopamine and endorphins, Cortisone and Vitamin D):

• Maintains Circadian Rhythm
• Improves mood and sleep pattern
• Reduces depression rates
• Alleviates pain

Hybrid lighting for offices
Studies show that the proper use of daylighting in the office environment decreases the occurrence of headaches, SAD, and eyestrain (Franta and Anstead 1994). Headaches and SAD are related to insufficient light levels.  An article in the HR Director Journal found that nearly a quarter of UK employers have encountered SAD in the workplace.   The royal college of psychiatrists strongly recommend seeking as much exposure to natural light as possible.

Furthermore, productivity in offices served by natural daylighting systems demonstrate a 20% increase in output from office employees along with reduced absences because of sickness.  Focus on the effects of light on productivity date back to the 1920s when studies were conducted on silk weavers, this correlation between work output and the amount of daylight in the workplace still exists.  It is considered that natural daylighting systems have a marked effect on the reduction of the incidence of SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) and provides a stress-free, soothing and far healthier office ambience by eliminating the glare and conflict of electric lighting and computer screens.

Recommendations on lighting for the office environment were set by BREEAM regulation LG07 and UGR19 which aimed to reduce the cave effect created by some lighting systems.  “Cave effect” is a problem caused by flat panel or recessed light fittings which do not distribute light onto the ceiling of an office, or other space, making it more oppressive and gloomy. 

LG07 advises that where daylight can be used to provide illumination of an office space, designers should seek to make the most of this valuable lighting source. Regardless of the size and location of the office in question, lighting designers should seek to give the occupants an appropriately well-lit space in which to work. The latest edition of LG7 emphasises the need to minimise energy use while maintaining a good visual environment for occupants. It also has extensive coverage of task lighting and daylighting techniques.

UGR19, or Universal Glare Rating, is the amount of glare deemed to be acceptable in an office environment; too much glare can be visually distracting, fatigue the eyes and make it difficult to see or undertake detailed tasks.  By using more natural light in combination with LED luminaires at the appropriate time of day, glare can be further reduced and the office environment improved.

Monodraught’s design engineers use industry leading software to model the number of SUNPIPE Luxloop systems required for given light level, including the Luxplotter which was created in conjunction with the University of Liverpool.  This will allow developers the opportunity to plan lighting levels to be in line with LG07 and UGR19 recommendations.

A recent report from Johnson Controls, OXYGENZ16, surveyed people aged 18 to 35 in the United States, UK Germany, India, and China and found that younger generation employees want evidence that their employers are going beyond the minimum levels of environmental compliance; 96% of the 18-25 years want to work in a greener office and 98% of the 26-35 years old respondents do as well.”

One way companies could demonstrate “green” credentials to employees would be to install a hybrid lighting solution in the office environment.  In this way, companies would be able to both improve the working environment for employees and reduce energy usage through natural light being the main light-source for the building.  The use when required of LED rather than traditional CFL luminaires means very low energy usage.  Using Halcyon™ wireless controls can also allow energy usage reduction by both reporting on energy usage and automatically dimming lights when not in use.  As a wireless system, installation costs are kept low.

Hybrid lighting systems designed for circadian lighting in industrial and commercial working environments could cut artificial light requirements in half. By combining natural light and improved artificial sources available today—centralized, high-efficiency light sources—energy costs for lighting could be reduced by one-third.

The Sunpipe Luxloop is an ideal lighting solution for the office environment.  It has been optimised for biology, provides effective room surface illumination to reduce cave effect, assists in meeting both LG7 and UGR19 and BREEAM requirements, increases productivity and reduces absenteeism. 

To find out more visit our microsite or call us on 01494 897 700

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