A Q&A with HLB’s Leader of Daylighting & Sustainable Design, Hayden McKay, AIA

Q) Why was it important for HLB to get involved in the Daylight Hour campaign?

A) Daylighting design is one of our passions, and an integral part of our practice and the way we live and work. All of our six offices jumped at the chance to demonstrate our commitment, not just for one hour, but whenever daylighting is available, the electric light are turned off. Our Daylighting and Sustainable Design Studio has experts in each of our offices who provide their vision and expertise on all projects.

Q) What is the future of Daylighting Design?

A) Daylighting is still the primary source of light throughout the world, with all the benefits of being free, with a full color spectrum and providing a connection to nature. The art of daylighting was lost for a while in the US when cheap energy was available in the 50’s and 60’s. Unfortunately, many deep buildings were constructed during this time, placing occupants far from the windows. Early computer screens led to low-lit interiors to prevent glare.

The first energy crisis in the 70’s began to raise awareness, computer screens improved, and studies into human circadian rhythms revealed the importance of natural light. Now, the energy codes require adequate windows or skylights for daylighting in most building types, and sustainability rating systems like LEED and Well Building certification encourage adequate daylighting. More importantly, occupants have always desired daylight and views, employers are highly aware of quality of the work environment, and Architects recognize the power of daylight to enhance form. It is all moving in a positive direction.

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