Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Develop Skylighting Guidelines for Northeast:Develop Skylighting Guidelines for the Northeast(ST6158-1)

Heschong Mahone Group, Inc.


Heschong Mahone Group (HMG) has previously published design guidelines and spreadsheet models for installing skylights in commercial buildings in California. These products allow designers to integrate the effects of skylights on lighting and heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems to optimize a building's total design.

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Project Description

HMG will perform a baseline survey to establish current skylighting practices in the Northeast; identify four exemplary skylit buildings for inclusion as case studies in the guidelines; and perform energy analyses to develop guidelines for optimizing skylighting systems with lighting and HVAC equipment in northeastern buildings. It will also develop two eight-page brochures that discuss the benefits and issues for using skylights, which include sample-design layouts for skylighting systems; conduct six skylighting training workshops for architects and building owners, based on the developed guidelines; and prepare materials suitable for use on Internet web pages.


The proper integration of skylights can significantly reduce the total-energy consumption for lighting, heating and cooling buildings. The promotion of skylights will also benefit New York State manufacturers of skylights and day lighting equipment.

Project Results

HMG completed a survey to assess the perceptions of design professionals and decision makers regarding skylights. The survey revealed that 80% of the respondents recognized the benefits of "more light" and "natural light," as primary benefits from skylights. However, 65-70% of the respondents perceived the primary disadvantages of skylights related to safety, maintenance, moisture accumulation and leakage. This information was used to develop case studies and technical guidebooks that highlighted the advantages and responded to the perceived problems of skylights. The contractor developed a software tool that can be used to optimize the designs of skylight systems for northeastern buildings. It is estimated that a moderately-sized (e.g., approximately 50,000 square feet) retail building in Albany, NY, could reduce annual energy expenses by nearly $10,000, if skylights and an electric light-dimming system were installed. Similar or greater energy savings would be expected for buildings in Buffalo and New York City, using such systems. Project results were presented at seven conferences/workshops. These presentations were attended by more than 200 building professionals. Four case studies of successful applications of skylight systems in northeastern buildings were published. Two technical guidebooks detailing the integration of skylight systems into the designs of warehouses and retail stores were also published.


Heschong Mahone Group, Inc.
11211 Gold Country Blvd., Suite 103
Gold River, CA 95670

Principle Investigator

Lisa Heschong

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Software Application/Analysis Tool

Technologies Types:

Building Systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Robert Carver


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST6158-1

Last Updated: 7/27/2012