One method of increasing your home’s energy efficiency is by reducing the amount of energy you spend on lighting through complete utilization of natural light. Simple sunlight can save you money on your energy bill by reducing the need to use light fixtures around your home.
How can you capture the power of raw sunlight? There are several different methods for doing just that.
First, it is best to have north-facing and south-facing windows in your home, instead of east- or west-facing windows. Keep this in mind if you are in the market for a new house or apartment.
North-facing windows are great for letting in an even amount of light that doesn’t provide a glare, while south-facing windows are well-designed for moderating seasonal temperatures, letting in a great deal of heat during the winter and limiting that same amount during the summer.
East-facing and west-facing windows, however, provide a great deal of daylight during the morning and evening and are poor at regulating temperatures during the extreme seasons.
The Energy Center of Wisconsin did a study that aimed to prove that this concept works. For this study, the researchers designed a control room and a test room, where they measured the amount of energy costs of each room, comparing them based on their differences—the key one being the way each room used natural light.
The results of the study showed lighting savings of 32 percent and cooling savings of 25 percent in the test room using natural light, though heating costs were negligibly higher. The end result was 22 percent total savings.
What else can you do to make use of natural sunlight? Instead of windows, you can use skylights to capture sunlight. Not only does this let in natural sunlight, but it also doesn’t sacrifice privacy, which can potentially become a problem with constantly opened windows.
If you are living in an apartment instead of a house, there is little you can do about using natural lighting, aside from keeping your windows un-obscured and choosing an apartment that already has north and south-facing windows.
However, it is important to note that heating and cooling in apartment buildings is often rolled into the price of rent and therefore can’t really be decreased. Landlords generally follow this practice because it can become very difficult to trace the amount used by each unit in a building.
In the end, though, you can still save money on your electricity bill by reducing the amount of light fixtures you must use at one time.
What do you think about utilizing natural lighting in your home?