The use of daylight is primarily about the occupants. If daylighting is done right in a space, the occupants will feel energized and creative, ultimately making them more productive. But how one feels is only part of the built environment equation. By daylighting a space, we save energy and become more sustainable. Daylight modeling shows us not only how much light we have, but also where it goes within the space. This knowledge allows us to start to form an electric lighting scheme that includes sensors and ballast controls that will turn off or dim electric lights when they’re not needed. This will save us electricity costs, which in turn can be applied to other expenses, making the building more sustainable in the long run.
In short, daylight modeling is a valuable tool that can help create more thoughtful designs by taking both form and function into account. Making conscious decisions that impact the end-user in a positive way will lead to an energy-efficient, comfortable space that reflects the intent of the overall design, while also considering the environment around it. You should consider daylight modeling to be an integral part of project development where you can affect change and promote sustainable design.
As director of sustainable technologies for Duo-Gard Industries Inc., Tim Metcalfe heads the company’s integrated building modeling strategies. Metcalfe holds an engineering degree from the State University of New York and is a founding member of the Boston chapter of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA). Duo-Gard can be found online at www.duo-gard.com.