The windows of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center provide beautiful sweeping views of Pittsburgh's Northside, the downtown skyline and the Allegheny River; however their purpose is more than aesthetic. During the design process, the architects and engineers created a model to simulate every possible lighting condition, and then strategically placed windows and skylights to maximize natural light intake.
Shading devices and light sensors ensure an even, glare-free distribution of light inside. As a result, all of the primary hall space (over 5 acres) and 75% of the remaining building spaces can be 100% naturally lit, a first in the entire United States for an exhibition space of this size.
At the Convention Center, natural lighting is in use even at night. The facility’s exterior was designed to capture existing city lights, which limits the need for additional lighting. This reduces light pollution, which can have adverse effects on nocturnal animals.
Natural lighting has many health benefits, resulting in increased energy levels and higher spirits for occupants. It’s also an important conservation strategy. Because electric lights also generate heat, using natural lighting lowers both electricity consumption and cooling costs. By using daylight effectively, the Convention Center saves enough energy each year to power 1,500 Pittsburgh households.