Today many concerned building owners, lighting designers and some regulators are increasing their efforts and attention on free, natural light. Unfortunately, while it is certainly very energy efficient, it is not reliable. Like all renewable resources it is subject to periods of unavailability, not just at night but also during the day. Natural variation in the intensity of sunlight can be a challenge.
Retail and Task-oriented lighting plans require certain levels of lighting in certain places, natural variation can be detrimental to visual acuity and comfort. It's not enough to slap a skylight in the roof or add some more windows to a design and call it a day. While there are codes and standards providing guidance on when to use natural light sources, there are no references providing guidance on how to use them, especially how to blend natural and artificial light in a given situation. It follows that current solutions are then specific to the individual design at hand for any given construction project. Reinventing the wheel each time around, so to speak.
The NEMA Lighting Controls Section is examining the potential of standards in this area. The first step, already underway, is to bound the scope of the issue and identify where NEMA can best contribute. Possible follow on steps include the drafting and publication of application and performance standards for daylighting as well as possible advocacy and lobbying.