By Steve Rizer
Do lighting-quality requirements that are intended to bolster occupant satisfaction belong in a green building standard? Officials representing the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) believe so, proposing to add such requirements to Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, through Addendum M.
The proposal would require that the occupants of certain space types be given some level of control over the light levels in that space. Also, in Section 22.214.171.124.1, the association seeks to ensure that certain media, such as whiteboards, are more likely to be “properly illuminated” by requiring separate lighting and lighting control for these surfaces, independent from the general lighting and control in the space.
But would such requirements help, hurt, or have no impact on the environment? Wouldn’t Section 126.96.36.199.1 actually compel increased energy use and send additional greenhouse-gas pollution into the atmosphere? In an email interview with ConstructionPro Week (CPW), here is what a pair of ASHRAE officials said on the matter: “Lighting quality can have a significant impact on occupant satisfaction in the workplace. The decreased absenteeism and employee turnover resulting from improved lighting quality supports the overall sustainability of a building and thereby indirectly helps to protect the environment through reduced energy and other resource use in response to these problems.”
Do you agree? CPW welcomes your comments on this topic. Additional details about Addendum M and other planned changes for Standard 189.1 appear in an accompanying article in this week’s edition of CPW at the following webpage: http://constructionpronet.com/Content_Premium/2012-09-24GBI2.aspx.