Collecting sunlight and shining it directly into our homes may sound like something from a sci-fi story, but this is exactly the vision Daylight Solutions has for buildings across the Midwest and beyond.
Established in 2009, Daylight Specialists’ premier interior daylighting solutions include both traditional skylights and revolutionary tubular daylighting systems, which use optical technology to bring daylight into places previously unimaginable.
Daylight Specialists is the exclusive distributor for Solatube and Sunoptics products across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Western Wisconsin. The company works schools, hotels, offices, retail spaces and more – from consultation and design through to installation.
Solatube’s hybrid tubular daylighting systems brings light into a building like a traditional skylight, while simultaneously capturing, or “harvesting,” daylight in a patented rooftop dome. The harvested light is then redirected through a rigid tube that reflects 99.7% of the light that enters it, and the result is consistent and evenly dispersed natural light throughout the day.
The company’s narrow focus has helped it become the best resource for commercial daylighting solutions. Unlike companies that boast a large product line, the company is focused solely on daylighting products.
What Sunlight Does for Us
And the mental health benefits cut even deeper. Research has consistently shown the link between vitamin D deficiency and depression – an affliction affecting more than 7% of Americans, and sunlight gives you a direct shot of vitamin D free of charge! Light therapy – daily doses of artificial light – is already a common treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
As our modern lifestyles push us further away from our natural primordial state by spending our days inside offices, schools and shopping malls, it’s not hard to appreciate the toll it is taking on our physical and mental well-being.
In this context, using daylighting in commercial spaces is a no-brainer. Daylighting lowers energy costs and improves the health and wellness of employees, consumers, and others; and research consistently shows that natural light in schools and office spaces increase productivity.
In retail spaces, daylighting could even increase sales. While most artificial light delivers a color rendition index (CRI) of 80, Solatube achieves an index of 99. Color purity is a big deal when it comes to clothes shopping. How many of us have tried on an outfit in the store changing rooms, only to bring it home and realize it is an entirely different color shade to the one we previously thought? At a time when retail stores are increasingly losing ground to online shopping, this level of color purity offers a clear differentiator and added incentive to shoppers to get out into the stores and see an item in person before making their purchases.
A New Dawn in Education
The education market accounts for approximately 60% of Daylight Specialists’ clients, from K-12 schools to colleges and universities. Data shows that daylight in the classroom can have a positive impact on learning outcomes, and the company is happy to play a role in that.
Daylight suppresses melatonin, a chemical promoting sleep. When melatonin is suppressed, serotonin then increases, stimulating the mind and body and enhancing students’ abilities to learn and retain information. The same is true of workplaces, and worker productivity also increases.
Daylight Specialists has installed daylighting products in many local facilities, including local schools, a children’s museum, and a Native American mental health facility.
Bringing Cities Back to Nature
Daylight Specialists helped transform the indoor space at downtown Minnesota’s historic Emery Hotel. By working closely with a landscape designer, Daylight Specialists was able to create a biophilic environment filled with tropical plants by bringing outdoor elements to an indoor space, helping its occupants feel more connected to the natural world. Specialist software was used to ensure the Solatube’s provided optimal sunlight levels all year round, creating an indoor climate where these plants could thrive.
The biggest challenge for this project was that the hotel is surrounded by tall buildings and parking structures, with little direct sunlight during winter months. The Solatube systems provided sufficient blue light to aid photosynthesis in the plants, but blocked out harmful ultraviolet (UV) and infrared light.
The Daylight Specialists team also completed multiple projects for upscale Minneapolis grocer Lunds & Byerlys. In this case, the focus was on using natural daylight to bring out the true colors of produce and other products in retail spaces. Daylight Specialists’ work with the Edina Galleria is another example of how daylighting can benefit retailers.
SHINING IN CUSTOMER SERVICE
Service is where Daylight Specialists strives to set itself apart from the competition. While other businesses do offer similar products in the market, it is Daylight Specialists’ turnkey service approach that sets them apart. The company believes that the service is more important than the product, and their priority is delivering a solution that exceeds expectations.