Daylighting & Sustainable Design
Benya Burnett at the Leading Edge
Benya Burnett is proud to be at the leading edge of sustainable lighting design and a key contributor to the technology necessary for designing these types of systems. For his whole career spanning 30+ years, James has been a leader and a champion of green design in the lighting design industry.
As a designer, James Benya's green and sustainable lighting projects continue to win awards for exceptional and groundbreaking design, in addition to earning numerous LEED Gold and Platinum designations.
As consultants, Deborah Burnett and James Benya continue to be highly sought after by lighting manufacturers who are looking to design the next generation of energy-efficient, attractive, intelligent lighting and control systems.
- Ultra efficient electric lighting design including advanced technologies and advanced concepts such as natural ambient
- Daylighting design and consulting including whole building and individual space analysis, fenestration selection, shading design, passive solar design, massing and orientation, and related consulting to the architect
- Design and engineering of analog and digital lighting control systems
- Photovoltaic integration and economic engineering
- Plug load analysis and control
- Net Zero building design and engineering
Highly Sustainable Work
Beginning in 2002, Benya Burnett has designed nearly 4,000 homes in green multistory buildings. Twin towers in Bellevue, Washington are the latest among a number of buildings including the Henry, the Meriwether, and the John Ross in Portland and Elleven and the Luna in Los Angeles. All of these projects are LEED Silver or Gold and received special lighting efficiency credits for residential units from USGBC based on research and efficient designs by Benya Burnett. In all, fifteen buildings averaging 250 units are occupied or nearly complete. Compared to normal construction methods, Benya's designs save homeowners an average of 500,000 kWh per year per building. Architects of the projects include GBD, Ankrom Moisan, Busby, and Mulvanny G2.
In 2007, two Benya Burnett Schools received LEED Platinum. These are the first two K-12 schools in the world to receive this distinction.
A remodel and addition to an existing middle school in Washington DC, this project required complex daylighting and state of the art lighting controls. Benya Burnett teamed with Sean O'Connor Associates to provide a design that saves 92% of normal lighting energy use due to daylighting and efficient design. The layered daylighting design received an innovation credit as did the outdoor, dark sky compliant lighting and lighting master plan.
A new school that has proven to be Net Zero Electricity. With state of the art lighting controls and layered daylighting in every room, the building does not use electric lighting by day in any space. A small photovoltaic array supplies computers and plug loads and produces excess output to offset night power use. An amazing structure receiving LEED Platinum as well as CHPS Platinum.
Other Key Projects Completed or In Design or Construction
Lewis and Clark Law Library Edison Award for Sustainable Design
- Symantec Springfield Technical Center IALD Special Citation for Sustainable Design
- University of Oregon Lillis Business Center LEED Silver, Daylighting featured in Architectural Lighting
- Dartmouth College Tuck Living and Learning Center Designed for LEED Gold
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management Designed for LEED Gold
- Dartmouth College Visual Arts Center Designed for LEED Gold
- Tucson Zoo School Designed for LEED Platinum
- University of Arizona Sixth Street Housing Portions designed for LEED Platinum
- Conservation Hall, Tennessee Governor's Residence Designed for LEED Platinum
- Clif Bar Headquarters Designed for Net Zero Carbon, LEED Platinum
In 1995, James Benya became involved in the Portland AIA Architecture+EnergyProgram and became inspired by the prospects of daylighting to further reduce building energy use. Since then, Benya Burnett has become increasingly involved in the daylighting of its projects, and is now serving as the primary daylighting consultant on several significant projects including the new Sloan School of Business at MIT, the new Main Library at the University of Nevada at Reno, the Aqua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs, the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics at Stanford, and the Washington School for the Deaf. We work closely with the Portland Better Bricks Daylighting Lab, the Seattle Lighting Design Lab, and top daylighting gurus like Lisa Heschong to maximize the performance of the daylighting systems being designed for buildings.
We use the latest tools to augment the architect's skills, including:
- Helping develop daylighting and fenestration concepts using SkyCalc and other software to test each concept.
- Helping analyze glazing systems for thermal, light transmission and light color qualities using Optic 5.
- Helping study interior spaces in detail using Lumen Designer or Lumen Micro, ensuring optimum daylighting under all conditions.
- Designing electric lighting and lighting controls that perfectly harvest every daylight lumen.
In November 2003, James was quoted in the Wall Street Journal about the growing interest and need for daylighting. Among his comments, he noted that a building is not daylighted unless the electric lights are off during the day.