Skylights and retrofitted lighting make for a brighter future at Argonne

By Diana Anderson, Writer/Editor, CEP

Argonne’s sustainability program is installing Solatube skylights in a retrofit pilot program at a few select locations on site. Solatubes allow light to travel several floors down and past right angles, making for bright, natural lighting in otherwise windowless areas. This, of course, translates into cost-saving benefits as less electric lighting is needed.

Solatubes use a highly reflective tubing material. The mirror-like inside surface of the tubes reflect 99.7 percent of the light that enters. Reflective tubing can run up to 50 feet from the source of sunlight, so the tubing can run down multiple floors of a building from the roof. Only five percent of light is lost in a 90 degree turn, making natural lighting a reality for architecturally hard-to-reach areas.

The pilot program will begin with the installation of ten Solatubes in Building 214, two in Building 205 and more than 20 at the Visitor’s Center in Building 224.

Other energy-efficient lighting alternatives have been implemented across the laboratory. For example, the lighting in the cafeteria at Building 213 was retrofitted to T-8 lighting – energy-efficient fluorescent lighting – in 2007 as part of an Energy Savings Performance Contract. A review of the lighting determined that the retrofit was the most cost-effective means to reduce energy usage. Also, large side windows provide an abundance of natural light in the cafeteria.

Posted Jul. 15, 2011