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Winter 2010
Welch Allyn Global Headquarters Takes Advantage of Daylighting with Help from LRC DesignWorks

Welch AllynWelch Allyn, a leading global manufacturer of frontline medical products and solutions, decided to improve the image, function, and sustainability of its global headquarters in upstate New York by designing a new expansion that incorporates daylighting. They called on the Lighting Research Center DesignWorks team to review the plans and make recommendations to ensure the daylighting design was effective, comfortable and energy-efficient.

Welch Allyn was looking to add a large, multi-story atrium to its facility in upstate New York, with a façade shading system and skylights integrated with the electric lighting system to reduce energy use, according to LRC DesignWorks Program Manager Patricia Rizzo, LEED AP, Assoc. IALD. She explained, however, that the original design had its challenges. For example, the building faces southeast and receives intense glare from the morning sun, and it is located in a region with predominantly overcast sky conditions.
By combining science, sustainability and style, LRC DesignWorks partnered with Welch Allyn to enhance the original design to overcome these challenges and create an inviting, comfortable atmosphere that remains true to Welch Allyn’s commitment to reducing energy costs, according to Rizzo.
The multi-story atrium is a signature component of Welch Allyn headquarters remodeling project. By optimizing the solar orientation and geometry of the atrium’s skylights, the LRC DesignWorks team was able to reduce what’s known as the glazing area, which includes any assembly or components of assemblies for transmitting daylight. In addition to increasing design and building expenses, glazing areas can increase a facility’s heating and cooling costs.  The new design improved performance and energy efficiency, according to LRC Senior Research Specialist Aaron Smith. Independent energy modeling also indicates the daylighting design will reduce energy costs by $10,000 annually.
“LRC DesignWorks compared alternatives to our proposed design, determined the energy and comfort impact of the daylighting systems, and suggested ways we could best optimize the design to achieve the image, comfort level, and energy savings we intended,” said Welch Allyn Director of Operations Scott Spanfelner. “It was great to work with a design team so well versed in the science of light and sustainability. Their involvement has helped to ensure that our design expectations will be met, and our energy savings exceed what we originally anticipated. We look forward to showcasing the final daylighting design when the project is unveiled in early 2010.”  

LRC DesignWorks also added skylights to the design for many of the office areas. The team recommended the use of prismatic skylights that maximize the amount of light entering the space while also diffusing the light to reduce glare, and splayed light wells to help distribute the daylight. By distributing the light, electric lighting in the space could then be outfitted with daylight harvesting equipment that turns off electric lights when sufficient daylight is available.  The team also balanced comfort and energy savings by recommending an automatic shade system to mitigate glare and maximize daylight harvesting potential in the building’s perimeter.

According to Spanfelner, the new design also created an equalization of light within the space that hadn’t existed previously. 
The LRC DesignWorks team takes a holistic approach to the daylighting design process and quantifies decisions by comparing a base case design to alternative daylighting designs. An experienced team of LRC lighting scientists and designers works together to examine and consider the customer’s goals and intentions, desired light levels and lighting needs, daylight harvesting options and new technologies, energy costs, materials and sustainability issues, and occupant comfort. Russ Leslie, LRC Associate Director, said “The LRC has branded its design approach and expertise through its DesignWorks program, where lighting solutions are built around energy-efficient lighting with style.” 
Learn more about LRC DesignWorks.  
About Welch Allyn
Founded in 1915 and headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, NY (USA), Welch Allyn is a leading global manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment and a complete range of digital and connected solutions. With 2,500 employees working in 26 different countries, Welch Allyn specializes in helping doctors, nurses, and other frontline practitioners across the globe provide the best patient care by developing innovative products, breakthrough technologies, and cutting-edge solutions that help them see more patients, detect more conditions, and improve more lives. Learn more.

About the Lighting Research Center

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit

Contact:lrcnewsletter@rpi.eduPhotos & Graphics:Dennis Guyon
Editor:Dennis GuyonWeb Production: Christine Kingery
Contributing Writers:Christine Kingery, Mary Cimo, Dennis Guyon
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