Design Concepts – Daylighting Part 1

What is Daylighting?

The simplest definition is – the light that comes from the sun. In this post we will examine a very basic overview of daylighting. In other posts we will take a more in depth look at design strategies and building case studies to develop a greater understanding of why daylighting is so important and effective.

When talking about daylighting, think of it as natural light vs. artificial light. Daylighting design is more than just large windows and skylights. Careful thought and consideration must be made to optimize natural light for stimulating and comfortable spaces.

The use of daylighting creates a pleasing and productive environment. By creating a direct link to the outdoors a designer can deliver a pleasing distribution of natural light. In addition, proper use of daylighting can influence the mood of occupants within an environment.

Why is Daylighting Important?

Artificial lighting accounts for about one quarter of the energy consumption in the United States. In commercial buildings alone, lighting accounts for one third of the energy consumption. Daylighting reduces the amount of lighting fixtures needed, as well as reducing the amount of time fixtures are on.

There are also the indirect factors of artifical lighting that contributes to electrical loads. Heat from lighting fixtures add to the cooling needs of a building. Also, the production and transportation of lighting elements and fixtures consumes energy. All of these factors add cost, time for construction, and maintenance to the design and building process.

Also, study after study has shown that natural light has positive psychological impacts. Natural light makes people more productive, happier, and less stressed. Utilizing proper daylighting techniques saves money, energy, and increases productivity.

Examples of Daylighting Design

Daylighting involves the thoughtful implementation of various building elements. Design strategies must account for glare, depth of light, heat gain, climate/weather factors, and light intensities at various times. These issues are addressed with elements such as shading devices, opening sizes, opening spacing, glass propoerties, building materials, and glazing reflectance.

Daylighting design is not just putting in as many windows as possible. Dayighting design is about maximizing the effects of natural light in a building environment. Also, the design must minimize the undesirable effects of natural lighting. We will examine the design factors and techniques in Part 2.

You are more than welcome to contact us regarding any questions you may have regarding how to incorporate Daylighting into your design or if you would like Gustin Design Services to give you a more in depth information session please contact us – info@gdsatx.com.

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