Many people appreciate a view of the city from inside an all glass building. There are several benefits to adding a great deal of natural light to a building, but there are also potential drawbacks from the standpoint of energy efficiency. Selecting the right windows and adding an energy efficient window treatment can help property managers of all glass buildings achieve their energy usage goals.
Glass Building Benefits
Increasing the natural lighting in a building presents a number of advantages for employees, customers and students who spend time in the structure. Studies show that students who spend time in classrooms with better natural lighting perform better on exams. Business owners with plenty of natural lighting in a showroom often find that the most popular items for sale are the ones shown in the sunlight. A 2014 study from Northwestern University also revealed that office workers who spend more time in natural light at the office sleep better and have a higher quality of life in general.
After reading all these benefits, you may wonder what possibly the drawbacks are. Unfortunately, buildings with mostly windows on the façade face numerous energy efficiency concerns. As a general rule, commercial buildings spend about 70 percent of their energy consumption on lighting and HVAC usage. Heat transfer can be a bane to you if you have a lot of windows in the building, and cannot rely as much on insulation to block heat from leaving or entering the building.
Improving Energy Efficiency
Fortunately, you still have several options for improving the energy efficiency of a glass building in Los Angeles. Windows are not all created equal, as the U.S. Department of Energy demonstrates. Certain types of windows have glazing that minimizes the amount of non-solar heat gain passing through the windows. Windows with:
- double panes
- moderate glazing
- low U-factor
Allow you to reduce the amount of heat-generating interior lighting you must use throughout the building, while you enjoy all the benefits of an office with plenty of natural lighting.
Additionally, the use of an energy efficient window treatment on the windows makes a significant difference on the cooling load of the building. Window treatments are far more than just fashion. The right blinds, shades and curtains can reduce your overall energy consumption by as much as 10 percent, by decreasing the rate of heat transfer throughout the building. Motorization makes opening and closing blinds or shades very simple. You can even time the changes to follow the sun, so that you always have the right balance of natural light and technology to improve your energy efficiency.
Commercial building owners want all the benefits of natural lighting, but they worry about the ways so many windows will affect their energy consumption. By using energy-efficient windows and an energy efficient window treatment to minimize heat transfer, you can take advantage of healthier lighting and reduce your overall energy consumption.