Daylighting and Productivity in the Retail Sector

Panel: Panel 7. Human and Social Dimensions of Energy Use: Trends and Their Implications

Authors:
Ramona Peet, Independent Contractor
Lisa Heschong, Heschong Mahone Group
Roger Wright, RLW Analytics, Inc.
Don Aumann, California Energy Commission

Abstract

In this paper, we present the methodology and findings of a replication study that found statistical evidence that increased hours of daylighting is associated with increased retail sales. The original study, conducted by Heschong Mahone Group for PG&E in 1999, found a strong, positive relationship between the presence of skylighting and increased retail sales. This new study, supported by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, was designed to determine if the findings of the original study could be replicated for a second retail chain in an entirely different retail sector, and also examine additional influences on sales not considered in the first study.

Monthly sales data for three years were analyzed for a set of seventy-three store locations in California belonging to a certain retail chain, twenty-four of which had a significant amount of daylighting. The design and operation of all stores was fairly standard, with enough variation in daylighting practices to allow for a scalar representation of the presence of daylighting.

Multivariate regression modeling techniques were used to explore the effect of daylighting on retail sales, while simultaneously controlling for the influence of approximately fifty other variables, such as store size and age, which could influence sales. These regression models found that increased hours of daylight per store were strongly associated with increased sales and increased transactions, but at a smaller magnitude than the original study.

Additional findings and limitations of the study will also be discussed, along with possible mechanisms for this effect.

Paper

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Panel 7. Human and Social Dimensions of Energy Use: Trends and Their Implications

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