Shine On: Why Daylighting Commercial Steel Buildings Increases Productivity
MSC brought the daylight in by installing 45 strategically placed windows with custom trim to one of three commercial steel buildings it has built for Kicking Horse Coffee in Invermere, BC.
February tends to be the time of year when BC workers feel the winter blahs the most. This can be attributed to the fact that many of us are in desperate need of Vitamin D and natural light.
But did you know that by illuminating the interiors of commercial steel buildings with natural light, known as daylighting, you can actually increase the productivity and general health of those working within your walls?
An added bonus of daylighting is that your building will not be as reliant on artificial means of lighting, saving you both money on energy bills and making your business more environmentally sustainable.
Read on to find out the benefits of daylighting commercial custom steel buildings:
We all need a rainbow
According to Dr. Christine Northrup, a New York Times best-selling wellness author, when our eyes are exposed to natural light (daylight), we get the full spectrum of colours, including ultraviolet A and B (UVA, UVB) light, which is said to keep our circadian rhythms normal and keeps our bodies from developing too much melatonin, which can cause sleepiness and a lack of energy.
However, typical indoor lighting contains mostly yellow and orange light waves and fewer green, blue, and purple waves; in other words, artificial light. This can lead us to feeling more sluggish and less productive.
To ensure that more daylight enters a building, a designer of pre-engineered steel buildings can easily incorporate a combination of strategically placed windows and interior reflective surfaces on walls and roofs.
Taming the sun with prefab buildings
BC is known for its hot summers, especially in the Southern Interior, so having the hot sun blinding or beating down on workers is not a solution for productivity.
However, prefab buildings can actually be designed to harness the sun’s rays without the overwhelming heat and damage caused by prolonged exposure.
Letting the light shine through
Some of the ways designers incorporate daylighting into steel buildings include:
- Replacing part of the glazing on windows with translucent panels to diffuse the light
- Placing windows high up on walls, which casts the light farther into the space without causing direct eye glare
- Opening the roof to add translucent skylights, which diffuse the light while taming the intensity of the sun’s glare and heat
Using technology in steel warehouse buildings to light the way
An effective way to transfer light in larger manufacturing and steel warehouse buildings is by installing something known as a light pipe.
These open tubes have highly reflective interior surfaces —in some cases, they contain rods with fibre optics— that are attached to the roof via a cupola or clear dome. The natural light is captured and then transferred down through the pipe to the lower levels of a building. The other end of the pipe end is then capped to a ceiling or wall inside the building with a diffuser attached to spread the light more evenly and to decrease heat.
Need more light in your place of business? Read our blog: Playing with Steel: Fun-ctional Design in Metal Buildings.
As one of Western Canada’s most respected pre-engineered steel and structural steel companies, Metal Structure Concepts designs, supplies, customizes, and installs everything from modular buildings to storage buildings that will meet your specific business’ needs.