While it seems like spring has been taking awhile to arrive in Toronto, the days have certainly become longer, giving us the perfect opportunity to talk about Daylight Harvesting. If you’re trying to mix electricity with farming, you are on the right track – kind of.
Daylight Harvesting is basically the practice of choosing natural light over artificial light as much as possible.
With special systems in place, you can set up a room to receive a certain amount of light. If it’s daytime and that light can come from the sun, the artificial lights dim. If the natural light decreases, the artificial lights kick in to maintain the same light levels in the room. Basically, Daylight Harvesting is like the sun controlling your lighting dimmer switch.
Major Benefits to Daylight Harvesting
Because Daylight Harvesting favours natural light, you will use less electricity and lower your building’s carbon footprint. How often is a light on in your office in the middle of the day, but it is being overpowered by the sun and is unnecessary? No one thinks to turn it off, but the energy the light uses is being wasted.
The great thing about using the sun’s light is that it’s free. Lowering your energy usage means lowering your energy bill. Of course, there is a cost to setting up a functioning Daylight Harvesting system, but once it’s in place, your monthly bills will go down.
In many cities, including Toronto, we are charged more for the energy we use during peak hours. This is because the added electricity during these hours puts a strain on our power grid. In the spring and summer months, that peak time is in the middle of the day. This is when the sun is its hottest and we all turn on our air conditioners. Thankfully, this is also the time of day when the sun is its brightest and we can capitalize on its light.
Where to use Daylight Harvesting
As a Toronto electrician, I see all kinds of buildings, from houses and condos to office buildings and restaurants. Each one of these spaces could use Daylight Harvesting.
Offices: As I mentioned before, offices are notorious for lighting a space twice. The sun comes through large windows, but the lights stay on.
Restaurants: Restaurants that are open for lunch can set up sensors in different areas of the room so that a seat by the window can take advantage of the sun without a table in the back having to sit in the dark.
Condos: Condo buildings, along with hotels, often have lobbies and pools with nice windows to let the natural light in. Save the energy being used from overhead lights with Daylight Harvesting.
Interested to learn more about Daylight Harvesting tips, details about how Daylight Harvesting works, or what to consider before you start planning a system?