Using what is natural, healthy and for free should be first aim when we intend to green our life styles. Wind sun and rain water are such resources. These three sustainable assets can be harvested with sometimes small yet clever tricks, at other times with more elaborate and costly measures. But once implemented they all have one thing in common: zero pollution and of course long lasting savings.
Residential lighting is considered an energy hungry area: 6% of world-wide energy consumption is allocated to light private homes. Currently lighting is largely achieved through incandescent and halogen light bulbs which unfortunately convert more than 80% of the energy used into heat rather than light. More conscious households have now introduced and installed CFLs (compact fluorescent light) or newer even more efficient LEDs (light emitting diode).
For many of us changing light bulbs is the most apparent option to reduce energy demand in terms of lighting, but it is not the only one. Another is to reduce the need for artificial light in the first place, particularly those needs that occur during the day. How many of us have rooms that never have enough daylight and need artificial lighting throughout the day? How often do we switch on an extra light source above our working area even at midday? In my experience there is always a way to reduce or even eliminate this energy demand during daytime hours before all else. Doing so can generate real savings that often last forever with practically zero pollution to our environment. When we begin to green our lighting needs during the day, we have to work with the most powerful source of light we know: our sun. In this article I would like to suggest different ways to eliminate daytime use of man-made luminaries by letting in the sunshine.
In my work as an eco consultant I look at the lighting performance of every room. I examine the needs of the home owner in this particular room and establish how natural daylight can be harvested to suit these needs. In this article I would like to share the most common options with you:
- Add more windows
- Change to windowed doors or walls
- Add a skylights
- Add a solar tubes
- Make use of flexible curtains or frosted glass
- Cut back on overgrowth
- Move your layout of furniture to where the light is
- Paint the walls in light colours
- Add a mirror to a wall reflecting sunlight
So, after some of these changes, your home should be able to catch the sun! After that the lone issue is that daylight – as the name suggests – is available during daytime only. When there is no more daylight, different measures will apply. Hopefully we’ll have another chance to talk about those energy saving methods sometime in the future.