Usage of Polycarbonate sheets
There are many reasons for the renewed interest in daylighting, the high cost of fossil fuels and the realization that sources of electricity have a finite life; perhaps even more important though are the less tangible aspects of daylighting which relate more to the human spirit, and the quality of life…. From office buildings to schools, manufacturing plants to hotels, daylighting plays an important role in a building’s design. The California Board for Energy Efficiency conducted a study (hyperlink that to the daylighting study PDF) that shows empirically that daylighting boosts everything from employee morale to student’s test scores, while decreasing the length of hospital stays and increasing retail traffic. Daylighting not only supports our efforts with sustainability, helps conserve energy resources but improves our overall productivity and well-being. The use of polycarbonate to enhance daylighting in architectural design is playing an ever-growing part in this movement to bring daylight into our lives.
Skylighting, when designed properly, will optimize the sun’s trajectory and maximize the amount of light coming into a building. The optimal area of skylights (usually quantified as “effective aperture”) varies according to climate, latitude, and the characteristics of the skylight, but is usually 4-8% of floor area. With proper skylight design, there can be significant energy savings in commercial and industrial applications. Savings from daylighting can cut lighting energy use by up to 80 percent according to the US Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program. In terms of cost savings, the DOE reported that many commercial buildings can reduce total energy costs by up to one-third through the optimal use of daylighting. Gallina USA has designed a myriad of products that offer the architect or designer a wide variety of panels and sheets that can be customized with color or coextruded with a number of glazing options intended to improve thermal performance and efficiency. Today’s skylight fabricators are taking full advantage of the wide variety of Gallina PoliCarb® and arcoPlus® products and designing them into their skylight systems. Products ranging in thickness from 10mm -40mm extruded in colors that both enhance appearance and improve thermal efficiency, combined with our unique IR® coextrusion, make the decision to incorporate polycarbonate into a skylight system an easy one.
Another important element in creating daylighting is the use of clerestory windows. These are high, vertically-placed windows. They can be used to increase direct solar gain when oriented towards the equator. When facing toward the sun, clerestories and other windows may admit unacceptable glare. In the case of a passive solar house, clerestories may provide a direct light path to polar-side (north in the northern hemisphere; south in the southern hemisphere) rooms that otherwise would not be illuminated. Alternatively, clerestories can be used to admit diffuse daylight (from the north in the northern hemisphere) that evenly illuminates a space such as a classroom or office. Often, clerestory windows will shine onto interior wall surfaces painted white or another light color. These walls are placed so as to reflect indirect light to interior areas where it is needed. This method has the advantage of reducing the directionality of light to make it softer and more diffuse, reducing shadows. With these needs in mind Gallina has designed a series of panels and systems for vertical window and clerestory applications. Depending on climate, geography, or application our arcoPlus® line includes tongue and groove panels from 20mm -40mm thick and in various widths; as well as standing seam modular panel systems from 8mm -20mm thicknesses that will offer the architect/designer a wide variety of choices to meet the needs of their project.