Friday, February 23, 2018

Transform Your Home with Daylight

One of the biggest trends in interior design over the past few years has been the growth of the “Green” concept. Being green does not mean just using sustainable resources to create the interiors of a home or office. It means creating spaces that leave minimal carbon footprint on the environment. To most people, this simply means using better insulation to reduce heating and air conditioning requirements. That is a good thing but there is more – reducing the lighting load of a home or office not only saves electricity, it offers a number of health and productivity benefits. In addition, designing an interior around the idea of maximizing the use of natural daylight can give the space a stylish and elegant look that has a positive impact on those who occupy it.

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Productivity and Mood Improvement

A person who is happy is said to be in a sunny mood. There is a reason for that – studies show that sunlight is a natural uplifter of mood. Sunlight indoors creates a positive aura that fills a room with positive energy. In the home that means a happy atmosphere. In the workplace, it creates an environment where people are more efficient and productive.

Better Sleep

By giving the body adequate exposure to sunlight during the day, the natural activity/sleep cycle of the metabolism is strengthened. Besides being more energetic during the day, the quality of sleep at night is improved. This has a positive cascading effect on all aspects of health and fitness.

Reduced Energy Use

By increasing the amount of natural light available indoors, the use of electric lighting is reduced which leads to lower utility bills. Another benefit is that studies show that doing any activity that involves the use of the eyes is better done in daylight as the strain on the eyes is reduced.

More Attractive Interiors

Designers and interior decorators are incorporating daylight as an integral part of the planning. Sunlight gives an aura of openness, making an enclosed space feel more open and airy. Additionally, sunlight brings out colors better. The Color Rendering Index (CRI) rates how lamps render color. The best CRI is for natural daylight because it has the full spectrum of colors.

Maximize the Sunlight

Most buildings, whether residential or commercial, have areas where there is not enough natural light or where the movement of the sun causes the room to darken at certain times during the day. Adding windows or skylights, even if possible, is an extremely costly and complicated job. And the problem may still not be resolved. However, by installing daylighting systems, the light that is outdoors can easily be brought indoors. Sunlight can be brought to even the innermost parts of a home or office where electric lights have to be used during the day. Daylighting systems are an elegant, easy to install and extremely efficient and cost-effective way to use daylight to add to the look of a home or commercial space. The best way to learn about all the benefits that these systems offer is to contact the dealer of a leading manufacturer.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Effects of Indoor Light Pollution

We all need light. Without it we are unable to function and life, as we know it, would be very different. However, too much light, especially artificial light, can be a huge problem. Everyday people are exposed to large amounts of artificial light even during the day from office lighting, computer monitors, TVs and even domestic lights that are put on during the day. This excessive exposure has a name – Indoor Light Pollution. New research shows that the effects of this on the body maybe much worse than was initially thought.

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Research Results

Early research showed that inadequate exposure to natural light could affect cognitive abilities. The human brain, like that of most other mammals, is tuned to a day/night cycle and functions at its best when it is exposed to adequate amounts of natural sunlight. The human body is a very flexible organism and is able to adapt to conditions quickly and continue to function at optimum levels. However, if it is placed in conditions that it is not designed for over a long period of time, the effects of the unnatural environment will begin to show. But now there is more cause for worry than the issue of cognitive ability.

Researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the health of rats that were exposed to excessive artificial light. Their health, over a period of some months,was compared to another group that was exposed to much less artificial light. The results showed that the rats that had more artificial light exposure had less muscle tone than the other group and also showed signs of the early stages of osteoporosis. The rats exposed to artificial light also became fatter and had indications of weakened immune systems.There were also signs of muscle atrophy and reduced motor performance.

The Way Out

Luckily, it appears that the effects of this indoor light pollution are reversible. When the rats in the study group were returned to normal levels of artificial light exposure, their health returned to the pre-study levels after a few weeks.

The modern city dweller lives an indoor life, often lit by artificial light. Even at home, many houses require electric light to be used during the day because not enough natural light is able to enter. The use of daylighting systems will go a long way in reducing the dependence of artificial light during the day and allow for the human metabolism to function in a more natural light environment.

A Healthy Home

Daylighting systems use light capture devices and special tubing to carry sunlight through walls and ceilings to even the most interior parts of a building. They are easy to install and once in place, have no operating cost. In fact, the availability of natural light indoors means that the use of electric lighting can be reduced which will help to bring down utility bills. Great lighting, better health and economy all in one package is something that no homeowner should ignore. To find out more, contact a daylighting systems dealer.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Children Need Sunlight

Every parent knows that adequate exposure to sunlight is an essential component of a child’s health and growth. The sun is a vital source of Vitamin D which is a critical component of not just building strong bones, but overall good health and physical development. Unfortunately, children in this country are becoming increasingly deprived of sunlight and the effects on their health are increasing at an alarming rate. This is not scaremongering. 

A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that “50 percent of children aged 1 to 5 years old, and 70 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11, are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D.” The Hopkins Children’s Center says that “60 percent of children may have sub optimal levels of vitamin D. Prolonged and untreated vitamin D deficiency can affect multiple organs and functions, including bone growth and density, metabolism, heart and immunity, but it rarely causes overt symptoms and often goes unnoticed. 

Vitamin D deficiency in childhood can cause skeletal deformities, brittle bones, frequent fractures and lead to premature osteoporosis in later life. However emerging evidence suggests that vitamin D is involved in far more than bone health. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and some cancers, heart disease, suppressed immunity and even premature death.”

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The Cause
Today’s children spend too much time indoors. Hours spent in classrooms, at home doing homework, watching TV or on the computer leave little time for spending time outdoors in the sun. While parents do encourage their children to be outdoors, there is often just not enough time. In addition, there are now issues of the health effects of pollution and excessive sun exposure that often cause parents to be unsure about how much time to allow their children to spend time outside and also the reason for the increasing use of sunscreen among kids. Sunscreen may protect against skin cancer and excessive tanning, but it also blocks off Vitamin D.

Sunlight Indoors?

The simplest solution to the problem is to ensure that children are in natural daylight even when they are indoors. Windows may allow for fresh air to enter a house, but the amount of light that enters is limited and affected by the time of day and the season. Installing daylighting systems in a home is a simple and effective way to bring sunlight inside. Roof-mounted natural light collectors capture sunlight and this is carried to every part of the house by using high tech tubing. Even those parts of the house that have access to very light natural light through windows and skylights can now be filled with sunlight. The children, and the adults, in the home will now have access to natural sunlight in a safe form that protects their skin and leaves any pollution outside.

Daylighting – Simple and Economical

Modern state-of-the-art daylighting systems can be installed in just a few hours and are both elegant to look at and long-lasting. Another huge advantage is that once installed they run for free, resulting in major savings on the amount of electricity that is used for lighting during the day.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Electricity Costs in California

A report earlier this year in the Los Angeles Times provided details of how Californians are paying billions of dollars every year for electricity they don’t need. The genesis of the problem is that at the beginning of this century the state faced a severe electricity shortage. This resulted in the opening of many new power plants. Some of them used the latest green technologies to reduce the amount of water and fuel required to generate power. While this was a good initiative, it may have pushed up the cost of setting up these plants.

The Over Supply Problem

A power plant set up in 2001 had an expected 30 to 40 year life span. It closed down in 2016. The reason was that the state power regulators approved the construction of another plant just 40 miles away in 2010. The $300 million plant is now idle. The same story has been repeated in other power plants. The reason for older, but still viable plants to close was that the state changed from one with a shortage of power to one with an excess. Having excess power may sound like a good thing – there will be a buffer to cover shortages due to natural causes and plant shutdowns. On the surface, it would also appear that having an excess of supply over demand would mean that the cost of electricity would be driven down by market forces. This is not the case. The cost of the plants that have been shut down still has to be recovered. And many of the newer ones are operating far below capacity, which makes the power they produce uneconomical. The only way to recover the capital cost of the closed plants and the uneconomical generation of others is to make consumers pay more. Things are only going to get worse as official estimates say that the state will have an excess generation capacity of 21% by the year 2020.

A Staggering Cost

In simple terms, the cost of turning on a light or operating an electric appliance has increased. In recent years, according to the LA Times, the gap between what Californians pay as against what the rest of the country pays has doubled to approximately 50%.  Today California uses 2.6% less electricity than it did in 2008. But customers in the state are now paying nearly $7 billion more than they did then. And state regulators have approved higher rates for the future in an effort to try and recover the cost of setting up and running the new plants.

Save By Reducing Power Consumption

With the cost of utilities expected to keep increasing, homeowners need to find a way to reduce their power consumption. Installing solar panels in a home is a major project that involves modifications to the home and a capital cost that makes recovering the expense a long term proposition. An immediate alternative that is economical and requires no major installation effort is to use daylighting systems.  These collect daylight from the roof of a house and carry it to even the most interior parts of the home, which may remain dark even during the day. This reduces the need to use electric lights in daytime hours and this can have a significant impact on a home’s utility bills. With electricity prices expected to keep going up, the earlier these systems are installed, the greater the savings for consumers. To be sure of deriving the maximum benefits from a daylighting system, it is important to use only that which is manufactured by a reputed company and where there is a dealer in the area to provide installation services and support.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Daylighting FAQs

The growing awareness of the health, economic and environmental benefits of using daylighting systems to light a home has resulted in a vast amount of material being available on the subject. This volume of information, much of it partially or completely inaccurate, can cause confusion in the mind of the homeowner who wants to install daylighting systems in his home. Numerous questions arise and finding the answers to allow for a knowledgeable decision to be made is difficult. Here are some of the most common of these questions and  accurate answers you can rely on.

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  • How bright is the light? Daylight systems can provide as much or even more indoor light than a skylight or large window.
  • How costly is it when compared to a window? When both the product and installation costs are taken into account, a daylighting system is typically less expensive than installing a window or skylight.
  •  How difficult is the installation? The best daylighting systems are designed for retrofitting into existing homes. Because of this installation does not require any structural modifications, dry walling or repainting. Professional installation can usually be done in 2 hours and a DIY project can be completed in a day. 
  •  Where in the home can it be used? A daylighting system collects sunlight from the roof of a house and uses special highly reflective tubes to carry it through walls and ceilings to even the most interior parts of the building. This includes rooms with no roof access and places like closets where natural lighting was previously not an option.
  •  Is it really green? The use of daylighting systems means that the use of electric lighting during the day can be either eliminated or significantly reduced. This automatically reduces the home’s carbon footprint and makes it more environmentally friendly.
  •  What are the running costs? A daylighting system uses no electricity. So once installed, the running cost is zero.
  •  Are there really health benefits? The link between exposure to adequate sunlight and good health has been extensively documented and any doctor will vouch for it. The benefits are not purely physical, they are psychological as well since sunlight is known to help in uplifting the mood.
  •   How will a daylighting system fit into my home’s decor? The best manufacturers offer a wide range of elegant fittings that will match almost any home decor.

Quality Counts

The increasing demand for daylighting systems means that new manufacturers continue to appear regularly. Many of them make claims that cannot be substantiated or offer prices that appear to be too good to be true – they are. Your home is your most valuable asset and not something you want to take risks with. That is why while installing daylighting systems, it is always advisable to go with a leading manufacturer with a global customer base and a reputation for quality and being cost effective. This will ensure that the daylight you have in your home will give you many years of trouble free brilliant light. Contact the dealer for your area of a reputed manufacturer to learn more.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Solar Power vs. Daylighting

The solar powered home is no longer the technology of tomorrow, it is available today. It may not be possible to be completely independent of the grid, but the solar home of today allows you to be green and save money on your utility bills. A solar powered home may not work for everyone – there are technical and financial hurdles to overcome. Here are the 4 basic components of a residential solar power system.

A Residential Solar Power System

·         The solar panels. These are made up of photo voltaic cells that convert the energy from sunlight into electricity. They are normally installed on the roof of the home which is where they will receive the most sunlight.

·         Batteries. The solar panels will generate electricity only during the day when sunlight shines upon them. Nothing is generated at night. If you want to have solar generated electricity at night, batteries will be required to collect and store the electricity generated during the day so it can be used after sunset.

·         The Inverter. The solar panels generate Direct Current (DC) while your home uses Alternating current (AC) power. The electricity that is stored in batteries is also DC. To convert this DC into AC an inverter is needed.

·         The electric meter. The AC from the inverter flows through the electricity meter into the home’s main electrical panel from where it made available throughout the home.

Installing a solar power system in your home can be complicated and expensive, although it will pay for itself in the long run. A simple way of using sunlight to light up a home, at a fraction of the cost of a solar power system, without a large amount of special equipment and with a very simple installation process is by installing a daylighting system.

Day lighting Is the Right Way to Get Started

A day lighting system is not part of a solar power system. It does not convert sunlight into electricity or heat. Instead, it collects daylight from the exterior of your home, carries is through ceilings and walls and uses the light to illuminate those parts of the home that do not get enough natural light. Besides providing healthy daylight indoors, it reduces the need to use electric light during the day, thereby cutting electricity bills. Unlike a solar power system, a day lighting one uses cutting edge technology to keep itself simple and easy to install. These systems are surprisingly economical too.

Whether or not you are planning to install solar power in your home, day lighting systems are something that you cannot ignore. Clean, healthy and free daylight in every part of your home is a major benefit and cost saver. Once you see the benefits you may want to reconsider installing solar power. The day lighting system can work in tandem with solar power. If you decide not to, you are still a winner because the standalone daylighting system will continue to provide you with free natural daylight for many years to come.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Stay Healthy With Sunlight

When a person is in a “sunny mood” he is feeling good. Sunshine is associated with brightness, happiness, good health and overall wellbeing. Since the majority of urban dwellers spend most of their time indoors, ensuring that sunlight is able to enter a home or office is important to enhancing the quality of life. This may appear to be an overstatement, but a look at the research done on the benefits of sunlight proves that it is not.

The Benefits
·       Sunlight helps the body to produce serotonin, the hormone that boosts the mood and creates positive energy. In addition, increased serotonin levels have been linked to the suppression of appetite and thus the reduction of overeating and so to weight loss.

·       A study by the highly reputed British Medical Journal shows that low levels of vitamin D (produced by exposure to sunlight) are linked to the increased likelihood of cardiac disorders, especially in winter. There is also a link between the rise in cholesterol levels in winter and the drop in vitamin D levels.

·        The vitamin D from sunlight helps to reduce the risk of diabetes. A study in Finland found that children with higher levels of this vitamin had an 80% lower risk of getting the disease.

·        Seasonal Affective Disorder (or just feeling low in winter) has been linked to a lack of sunlight exposure.

·        The causes of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are still not clear, but research now shows that exposure to sunlight during childhood reduces the risk of the disease developing later on. The fact that the condition is less common in countries with sunnier climates appears to support this.

·        Although over exposure to direct sunlight can lead to skin cancer, the U.S National Cancer Institute has found that the risk of breast, colon, bladder, stomach, esophagus and womb cancer is lowered with exposure to sunlight.

·        Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to the onset of Crohn’s Disease and other bowel disorders. Once again, sunlight offers a way to reduce the risk.

·        In a study conducted by St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University in New York, it was found that women with menstrual and fertility problems benefited from the increased production of vitamin D that comes from sunlight.

·       Sunlight boosts the production of white blood cells which fight infections and boost the immune system.

·        Sunlight is known to help in clearing up skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Bringing Sunlight Indoors

Almost all homes have areas that need more daylight. Using electricity to illuminate these areas is not just expensive; it works against all the benefits of sunlight that have been mentioned above. Installing more windows or skylights to remove the darkness may not be possible and if it is, will be complicated and expensive. The right way to bring more sunlight into your home is with daylighting systems. These are simple to install and will carry natural light into even the most interior parts of a home. Using a state-of-the-art system means that you will have years of clear sunlight throughout your home with no running costs. Contacting the dealer of a reputed manufacturer can make a world of difference to the way you and your family live at home.