The Benefits Of Daylight Dimming


The Benefits of Daylighting

Daylight dimming has a huge range of applications. 80% of office staff state that having good lighting when they’re at work is important and that two fifths of British workers have to deal with lighting that they describe as “uncomfortable”. The presence of comfortable light levels are also essential for 5-10% of employees who live with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The quality of exposure to daylight within the workplace also affect employees’ quality of life, their activity levels, and their sleep patterns, according to Psychology Today.

Common particularly to modern commercial buildings is the inclusion of reflective surfaces, skylights, and large windows to create much more natural internal light within the workplace – this is an architectural approach called “daylighting”.

When exposed to the right amount of natural light, there are up to 84% fewer reports of blurred vision, eyestrain, and headaches among staff. Staff absence levels fall by 6.5% and, in retail outlets, sales have been shown to rise by around 40%.

With the level of natural light varying throughout the day and at different times of year, daylight dimming can ensure that a predictable and comfortable level of light can be delivered to staff at all times maintaining staff productivity and happiness levels.

In this article, we discuss daylight dimming and:

  • the benefits of daylighting to your staff and to your company,
  • the disadvantages of daylighting,
  • what daylight dimming is, and
  • how to deploy daylight dimming in your company.

Daylighting benefits to your staff

Bright but comfortable light within a workspace delivers:

  • enhanced staff morale
  • less fatigue
  • improved moods
  • more effective learning and training (7-18% improvement on standard scores)
  • compatible with seasonal affective disorder

Daylighting benefits to your company

In addition to bringing benefits to your colleagues, there are strong commercial benefits in working from a premises which takes advantage of daylighting:

  • gains in productivity of at least 15%
  • lowers air conditioning costs because less heat is produced by the lighting equipment
  • increase the value of your commercial premises (if your company owns the freehold)
  • workers feel more engaged with the company
  • in more environmentally conscious times, the fact that your company has taken active steps to reduce electricity use and its carbon emissions may sway clients towards choosing your business in the event of competition

Disadvantages of and difficulties with daylighting

Daylighting must be tailored to each premises because:

  • the amount of sun varies meaning that, without additional tech
  • the wrong building orientation will affect efficacy of the system
  • other buildings and obstructions may reduce the amount of natural light
  • too much sun will provide excessive glare and require further investment in shading

What is daylight dimming?

Daylight dimming is a feature of daylight harvesting – a facilities management tool designed for commercial premises constructed using the principles of sustainable architecture.

Daylight harvesting is a control system using photosensors to either measure:

  • the amount of available daylight with sensors placed on the outside of buildings, inside buildings facing the windows, or
  • the amount of light from both daylight and electric light reflected within a given space. For larger spaces, different measurements can be taken with the use of more sensors.

There are three types of daylight harvesting systems you can choose from for your premises:

  • daylight switching (when the minimum level of daylight is reached, all artificial lights switch off)
  • daylight bi-switching (in addition to the on-off setting, there are two additional levels of lighting – 66% of power or 33% of power)
  • daylight dimmers

Daylight dimming systems (sometimes referred to as closed loop systems) are more expensive than daylight switching systems (sometimes referred to as open-loop systems or on-off systems). The savings provided by daylight dimming systems are nearly always larger than daylight switching systems even though the power required for a daylight dimming system is a little greater.

How does it work?

The measurements recorded instruct a daylight dimming system to provide a specific level of additional artificial lighting in a premises. This is so that the amount of light colleagues are working in remains the same no matter the amount of natural light available from outside.

Best uses for digital dimmers

Daylight dimmers are generally used more in environments which require a specific amount of light at all times – for example, studios, museums, classrooms, and small offices.

Digital dimming versus digital switching

Daylight dimming systems are now much quicker and less expensive to fit than before because of simplified and integrated design sometimes within the light fitting itself (leading to less or no ceiling clutter) and easier commissioning (without the need for ladders and tools).

Daylight dimming can reduce lighting energy costs by up to 60% – this is important given that 23% of a typical company’s energy bill is on lighting and for schools and hospitals 42%.

However, the actual amount of money saved on electricity bills is also dependent on the skills of the engineers and the company you choose to install digital dimming.

For more on lighting, contact Airius

Please get in touch with us by calling 01202 554 200 or simply send an email to and we’ll be in touch with further information.