As more brands are looking into ways to reduce their carbon footprint, Building Energy Exchange has come up with an event that will raise awareness on a way to do just that, by utilizing daylight.
Building Energy Exchange, a New York-based non-profit that supports the building industry, is organizing Daylight Hour for the second year in a row on June 19. The Daylight Hour concept is simple: all buildings have to do is turn off their lights for a single hour (12pm-1pm) to raise awareness of the benefit of daylight.
brandchannel spoke with Building Energy Exchange board member Jan Berman, President of Daylight Hour sponsor MechoSystems (whose products help buildings make the most of daylight) about how companies can get involved.
brandchannel: MechoSystems provides window shading solutions for architects and interior designers. How did you get involved with Building Energy Exchange?
Jan Berman: Initially, Building Energy Exchange director Richard Yancey reached out to us, based on our relationship with several board members. This included a major New York City developer and a major corporate end user, both of whom are good clients of MechoSystems and were familiar with our work in energy-efficient daylighting systems. Also, both the Building Energy Exchange and MechoSystems are located in New York City and share a vision of creating a more energy-efficient building stock across the five boroughs.
We are happy to support events like Daylight Hour and to help create awareness of daylight as a free and beneficial natural resource, available to everyone, that can often reduce our reliance on electric lighting.
bc: Building Energy Exchange coordinates Daylight Hour. Can you tell us more about the event?
Berman: It’s a single hour during which participants turn off their lights as part of a social media campaign to raise awareness of the potential for daylight to offset the use of electric lighting in commercial spaces. This is the second year the Building Energy Exchange is hosting the event.
Anyone can participate, regardless of industry or location. It is a fun and engaging activity, organized around social media, with awards given for scale of participation and creativity of social media outreach. Participants are encouraged to capture photos of occupants working by daylight, and post it to social media with the hashtag #daylighthour.
bc: Since the goal of Daylight Hour is to raise awareness and encourage businesses to utilize daylight, what are the benefits of natural daylight?
Berman: Utilizing available natural daylight has many advantages, including reducing carbon emissions and providing health benefits to building occupants. Capitalizing on natural daylight and minimizing electric lighting use decreases a company’s lighting energy footprint and associated costs, reduces peak demand on the grid—the time when the grid relies on the dirtiest power plants—and improves the interior environment for employees.
Many studies indicate that increased exposure to views outside and natural daylight improves mood, maintains circadian rhythm, reinforces sleep patterns, shortens recovery time in hospitals, boosts grades in school and increases productivity in office environments.
bc: How do MechoSystems products relate to the Daylight Hour?
Berman: MechoSystems’ SolarTrac® automated shading helps buildings make the most of daylight. Its patented functionality is informed by the same values exhibited by the Daylight Hour. SolarTrac incrementally raises and lowers shades or adjusts blinds/louvers to maximize the amount of usable daylight and views to the outside while minimizing discomfort from glare and excess heat gain.
At the same time, buildings with SolarTrac benefit as it enhances a dimmable-lighting system’s ability to reduce electric-lighting energy consumption. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory stated in its five-year post-occupancy study of The New York Times Headquarters, where SolarTrac is installed, that “allocation of half of the lighting energy savings to the automated shades is certainly arguable.”
bc: How can businesses get involved in Daylight Hour?
Berman: Visit the Daylight Hour homepage between now and June 19 to sign up and access more resources in the toolkit. Last year, over 150 organizations across 2.4 million square feet of real estate participated and more than a half million people across the globe were reached over social media.
This year, commitments have already been made by MechoSystems and its parent company, Springs Window Fashions, along with the City of New York, Vornado Realty Trust, Tishman Speyer, the Durst Organization, Interbrand, and many others.
Six awards will be awarded to the most successful Daylight Hour participants for:
• Big Kahuna: Most participating square footage
• Social Butterfly: Social media posts with the greatest reach
• Daylight Empire: Most comprehensive portfolio participation
• Selfie Sultan: Best Instagram photograph
• Precocious Poster: Most creative social media
• Head Gear: Best monitoring/analysis