Who Turned Out the Lights?:
How Masters Touch Design Build is Utilizing Energy Efficient Lighting Techniques to Illuminate the New Office
About six weeks ago, Masters Touch moved into our new location at 24 Water Street in Holliston, Massachusetts. From our old shop in Medfield, we brought our chairs, our desks, our computers, our refrigerator, our coffee maker, and our energy efficient lighting fixtures. All of these transplanted items have helped our staff to settle in, get comfortable, and get back into the old groove in our new home.
Well actually, almost all of these items. . .
Since our move in February, I can count on one hand the number of times I have turned on the lights. Ninety-five percent of the time, our office is lit solely by natural light.
Our new location, built in 1891, is known to some as the Holliston Mill Building. A common architectural feature of old mill buildings is an abundance of large windows. Our Holliston office boasts over fifty large windows that run throughout all of our offices, our designer sample library, and our conference room. Even on an overcast day, the daylighting from all of these windows is typically sufficient for working comfortably.
Keeping the lights off is particularly exciting for me. When people ask me to tell them about the new office, my first words are usually, “It’s great! We have so much natural light that we don’t have to turn the lights on!” As the newly appointed Chief Sustainability Officer, one of my roles is to find ways to make our workplace more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Utilizing natural daylight requires zero energy and zero energy cost so, in a way, keeping the lights off is a no-brainer! Hence, my excitement!
An added bonus to natural daylighting in the space is added health benefits to natural light exposure. Solar Solutions of Kansas City does research on these benefits. Their website states that getting sufficient natural light can decrease depression, prevent eye strain, boost productivity, and can even help people retain information. By daylighting, we are not only reducing our energy costs, we are also working towards creating a happy and healthy work environment.
So what happens when it is dark out?
When we find ourselves burning the midnight oil, we typically utilize task lighting (for example, a desk lamp) which is far more efficient than turning on all the overhead lights. If we do find that we need additional light, we can turn the LED lights on without much guilt, as LED lights use 75% less energy than other traditional lighting methods.
Our new office space is working out wonderfully. We have plenty of space, friendly neighbors, increased storage, and a lighting strategy that requires little energy usage. Next time you are at work, see if you can think of any ways to lessen the energy consumption load. Feel free to comment with your suggestions below!