Daylight Harvesting

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

Daylight Harvesting

My grandparents were farmers. Words like “harvesting” make me think of them. One thing my grandparents did not do was waste. They did not waste anything on the farm. They ate every part of the cow (and I do mean every part. I’ve tasted brains and tongue and…thank you very much but no thanks.) They saved every box and container for future re-use.

In the spirit of the Midwest farmer, there is no reason to turn on electric lights when the sun is shining. In today’s world, the systems for implementing daylight harvesting are so easy, inexpensive, and non-invasive, it just makes sense to employ them. If an office or a classroom has a window, automatic daylight harvesting controls are a no-brainer.

Fixture manufacturers have tiny sensors built right in to their luminaires. Dimming of LED or fluorescent sources allows the adjustment to incoming daylight to be completely smooth, so there is no jarring “on” or “off” when clouds pass over the sun.

More and more of this control capability is being built in to the fixtures that you purchase. Be like a farmer and use every last bit of it to save the most energy. Look at how small some of these integral sensors are:

Daylight Harvesting Integral Sensors

Several manufacturers have good resources about how to install daylight harvesting systems. Here are just a few:

While my grandparents might not recognize the work I do in lighting as anything remotely close to the farming that they did, I like to think I’m returning to my practical, sensible roots when I employ daylight harvesting on my lighting projects.

Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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