Daylight Harvesting is hardly a new idea! It featured heavily in the design of Roman houses which were built around central atriums. Even the Pantheon in Rome is surprisingly well lit through the central oculus in the domed roof. The high cost of fuel, ecological concerns about finite natural resources and the trend towards sustainable home architecture are reviving interest in the concept.
Many people choose a home in the country to live a greener, more eco-conscious lifestyle. Incorporating daylight harvesting ideas into any new home, extension or renovation project will not only save money in the long run but will enhance your enjoyment around your home.
Natural daylight is essential for providing a pleasant living or working environment. It enhances natural colors and views, which can lift the spirit on the darkest day.
There are many architectural features that take advantage of natural daylight offered with country living, including glazed skylights and atriums that are commonly found in eco-friendly hotel lobbies and sustainable office buildings. Glass walls can be used in many configurations for both utility and beauty while allowing natural light in. Churches were historically designed with many windows around the upper gallery to shed ample light on the nave below including clerestory windows. These ideas can easily be transferred into modern-day homes with a little planning and forethought.
Other clever sources of natural light include light shelves. These horizontal light-reflecting overhangs can be incorporated into vaulted ceilings to reflect daylight into the room below. They work well on sun-facing roofs that reduce the need for artificial light. If you are extending your home or converting the loftspace, this clever architectural feature can be well worth considering.
In contrast to large lighting areas, you may also consider concentrated light harvesting methods. Solar Tubes are one example that requires no power and are cheap and easy to install. These smart daylighting systems are lined with reflective material to direct and amplify light down into dark spaces such as stairs, attics, windowless bathrooms, dark corridors and closets. This design has improved a lot in recent years with high tech designs.
Although high tech is not essential to employ light harvesting, it can certainly enhance natural lighting. For instance, photo-sensor systems can be used in connection with your light harvesting components to balance the intensity of daylight and redirect it to areas of interest such as adding more light to a reading area at a pre-set comfort level.
Using traditional or modern methods, artificial lighting can be minimized. By consuming less energy through daylight harvesting, your home not only costs less to run but also reduces its carbon footprint. Moreover, daylight harvesting adds pleasure to your home and country living by its natural warming rays shining upon you and by its ability to beautify features and landscapes. With daylight harvesting there really isn’t a downside!