Posted by: Advanced Glazings Ltd. | February 17, 2011

11 Daylighting Considerations for 2011

How are you daylighting your project?


Kirkwood Community College Iowa - Neumann Monson Architects




Daylighting can seem deceptively simple, but those age old rules of thumb always need more analyzing. The devil is in the details, here are 11 considerations when reviewing your daylighting strategy.

1.      Orientation.

The first and most important consideration.  Identify how much control you have over orientation. Northern exposures are subject to a diffused source of sunlight. Be very careful of how you treat East and West elevations. The southern elevation is exposed to direct sunlight the majority of time, use it wisely.

2.      Views vs. Daylighting?

Daylighting and views are different objectives and often require different tools to maximize their effectiveness. Explore the juxtaposition of your design on the building envelope to achieve both views and daylighting.

3.      Harmful Daylighting.

More light is not always the ideal. Pay more attention to mitigating unwanted natural light. Un-managed daylighting carries with it, solar heat gain (SHGC), poor light penetration and uneven light distribution. Transparent glass alone is not the solution.

4.      Glare?

Discomfort glare is the eyes inability to process two extreme contrasting light levels within ones line of sight.  Reduce contrast in the space by diffusing the sunlight.

5.      Are you blocking or harnessing sunlight?

Most strategies achieve one of these two outcomes. Blocking the light with shades, blinds, screens and frits only reduce the amount of light in the space and is a means of mitigating a problem you have created. Harnessing the light refers to techniques that distribute the natural light throughout your space at a level that is optimal for your occupants.

6.      Model your Daylighting!

Remember, you can’t solve a problem you haven’t identified. Great tools such as “radiance” allow you to accurately predict the effectiveness of your design. It also provides you with the evidence to illustrate your solution to a client (See point 7.)


7.   Communicating Value.

If you do not communicate the value of your daylighting design, how do you expect your client to pay for it? Make sure you articulate the benefits of daylighting and illustrate how your design delivers that goal.

8.   The outside world.

Other buildings, snow and landscaping all affect how sunlight enters the building. For example a glass building with a reflective coating north of your building can be a problem.

9.      “Daylight Washing”

Ask product manufactures to substantiate their “daylighting claims”. They should be willing and able to conduct daylight simulations to prove their case.

10.  Holistic Building Envelope.

Don’t forget that your building envelope is responsible for many functions, including thermal and sound insulation as well as daylighting and views.

11.  When in doubt call an expert!

Remember we can’t control the sun but we can control how we harness it

Contact us today to arrange your complementary Daylighting analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: