Retail Applications
Design Strategies
Ambient Lighting Strategies
Accent Lighting Strategies
Lighting Controls
Last Update: March 11, 2012
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Retail Applications


To maximize daylight potential, it is critical to orient the building for daylight access, provide views where appropriate, incorporate both side and top lighting strategies, design required shading devices, and select appropriate glazing. Also, interior spaces should have high ceilings and light colored, reflective surfaces to reflect daylight within the space. For big box, small box, and specialty stores, clerestories, store front windows, and top lighting are all strategies for introducing daylight into a retail environment.

Direct Sunlight

Once the sun enters a building, it is absorbed by the internal surfaces and turns to heat. Some products can be damaged by high light levels, heat and ultraviolet light. Direct sunlight through clear glazing is the most damaging, so consider diffuse glazing when direct sun penetration is not desirable.


One potential strategy for introducing daylight uses vertical or sloped windows at the top of a wall or a sawtooth architectural form to admit daylight intermittently across the roof.

Unit Skylights

Individual prefabricated skylights distribute daylight widely on the interior of a store and are designed to prevent leakage. If dropped ceilings are used, the light well should be painted white and splayed at the lower ceiling line, to increase efficiency.  

Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDD)

TDDs are manufactured as a single product that includes a lensed dome that projects above the roof, an adjustable aluminum reflective shaft that is located within the plenum, and then a diffusing fixture inside of the space. Although smaller in size, this product has several advantages over a traditional skylight. The dome has a patterned edge to catch low angle sun in the mornings and afternoons and re-direct it downward. The aluminum tube does not need to be directly below the dome so it can be routed around structural or mechanical building components. Additionally, the aluminum portion absorbs much of the heat and releases it into the plenum rather than the occupied space.

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