What Is Daylighting in Construction?

January 25, 2024

When incorporated into a building design, daylighting maximizes natural light throughout the day and reduces the need for artificial lighting. It also reduces energy consumption, helps the environment and boosts occupant health and productivity.

A well-designed daylighting strategy involves considerations at all stages of the construction process, from site selection to architectural, interior and lighting design. The key factors are understanding building orientation and site conditions, analyzing the facade and roof characteristics and size of openings, and the geometry and surface materials of internal spaces. Additionally, daylighting requires a good understanding of how solar heating affects the energy needs of the building and how to control artificial lighting in response to daylight availability.

Daylighting can improve occupants’ visual comfort by eliminating excessive glare and providing more consistent, even lighting. It can help occupants maintain a connection to the outdoors and contribute to overall feelings of wellness and wellbeing, particularly in educational settings where it has been shown to increase students’ test scores and short-term memory recall.

Often, the most effective way to use daylighting is by positioning it high in a space. In the Spoke Luxury Apartments parking garage in Chicago, for example, Kingspan Light + Air used translucent glazing panels that allow sunlight to filter through and light up a dark structure, minimizing the need for artificial lighting. A similar effect can be achieved using tubular daylighting devices, such as those incorporated by TETER Architects and Engineers into the Flora Arca Mata Elementary School in Stockton, California. These systems harvest the sun’s rays, redirecting them into a ceiling diffuser that distributes a wash of natural light throughout an interior space.

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