Ampelite Fibreglass Roof Panels
Getting natural light into a warehouse environment can be achieved relatively easily through the use of products like Ampelite Translucent Roofing Panels. These panels serve the same purpose as regular roofing panels, while also letting natural light in.
Lighting a large indoor space like a warehouse is not a cheap proposition. The amount of power required to light increasingly large areas grows at a significant rate, taking your electricity bills with it. And, since working in the dark isn’t an option (at least, not in most cases) any way of reducing the demands on your lighting system will likely be welcomed.
One such way of reducing that demand is through the use of natural light. If the sun is already going to be beating down on your warehouse roof (and in Australia, it most certainly will be), why not harness that natural resource to brighten your work environment.
This brightening comes in more than one form, of course. While being able to see what you are doing is an undeniable positive, research has shown that having more natural light in your life boosts morale and improves mental health and wellbeing. Since happy workers are often harder workers, it pays to do things that will enhance your working conditions.
Why Not Skylights?
A common way of getting natural light into residential buildings is through skylights, which are essentially windows in the roof. Skylights are great because they let in plenty of natural light, afford a nice view of the surrounding area for anyone in rooms that have skylights, and can be opened to get a little extra ventilation. Unfortunately, they do not scale particularly well when it comes to large, high ceiling warehouses.
For one thing, skylights are relatively expensive, thanks to the complexity of the opening mechanisms and the higher expectations of insulation.
It is also the case that skylights do not typically come in a sufficiently large size to be effective in a large space like a warehouse, meaning you would need a prohibitively expensive amount of them to get anywhere near the desired amount of natural light.
The final nail in the skylight coffin is the fact that all of the extra expenses caused by having those opening mechanisms in your skylights would be wasted since the skylights would almost certainly be too high for anyone to operate them safely, or at all. And even if they could, the effect a skylight-sized opening would have in a warehouse-sized roof is questionable at best.
Ampelite Translucent Roofing Panels
These panels are not merely translucent bits of plastic that go in place of regular opaque roof panels; they are specially designed for maximum clarity while maintaining the kind of durability that you would typically require from a roofing panel.
Durability is a critical factor when considering translucent roofing panels. There are regulations in place on structural components that are designed to keep people safe, and just using any old plastic sheets could not only land in trouble with the authorities but also see you putting people at risk.
Other factors that are taken into account in purpose-designed roofing panels are thermal efficiency and installation. Obviously, business owners would be reluctant to install roofing that has very poor insulative properties, especially in a warehouse, which is hard enough to keep warm in the first place.
Ampelite has put a lot of thought into their product, even to the degree of considering that many of their panels will be retrofit, rather than used at the time of construction. To this end, their panels are designed to retrofit over profiled sheeting structures, allowing you to brighten up your existing warehouse without completely re-working the roof.
Translucent Roof Panel Maintenance
Unfortunately, having any kind of natural light system in a large structure like a warehouse will require a certain amount of maintenance over time if it is to remain effective. While a great deal of research and development is put into making these panels resistant to UV damage and resilient when it comes to things like scratches, they will invariably get dirty over time. Obviously, grime and dirt will reduce the amount of light that gets through the panel and into your workshop.
If you opt for this method of getting light into your warehouse, you should plan for occasional cleaning. Once or twice a year is generally considered to be a reasonable interval. However, the particular environment your warehouse is in may mean you need to have your panels cleaned more or less regularly. Of course, with a building like a warehouse—especially a large one—cleaning roof panels is an involved process that will require specialist equipment and trained professionals.
Due to the robust, durable composition of these roof panels, it is unlikely they will become cracked or broken. However, should they somehow get damaged, you should treat them with the same urgency you would address any damage to your roof, and get them repaired or replaced immediately.
Why Artificial Light Isn’t the Same
There are several subtle properties to natural light that you do not get from artificial light. At least, not the kind of artificial light that is typically used in industrial settings. For one thing, the colour temperature of natural light is “warmer” than the harsh, blue-white light you get from, say, a fluorescent tube light.
Beyond the way the light looks, things are going on that you can’t see. For example, it is widely known that sunlight encourages vitamin D production in our bodies. This is not the case with artificial light.
Of course, you will undoubtedly need artificial light in your warehouse, regardless of whether you have translucent roofing panels installed. The changing seasons will invariably leave you working in the dark at times without artificial light, not to mention overcast days and storms. On top of all that, there is also the fact that even the most naturally lit warehouses likely won’t get enough sunlight to safely work under, especially if the work in question involves heavy machinery or similarly dangerous activities. Still, there is little doubt that more natural light improves working conditions.