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Industry News
Online Pattern Guide Models Daylighting Strategies
January 1, 2012

New Buildings Institute (NBI), a nonprofit working to improve energy performance of commercial buildings, released its Daylighting Pattern Guide, a free, online resource to help industry professionals integrate proven daylighting strategies into commercial building projects.

The online resource simulates and presents 19 prime examples of well designed daylighting solutions to help design teams effectively apply daylighting design strategies for a variety of project types, such as offices, schools, libraries, laboratories, museums, industrial facilities, and recreational facilities across a diverse set of regional climates.

Each project in the Daylighting Pattern Guide was photographed, physically measured, and simulated. Sensitivity analysis of key design variables was conducted on each project to demonstrate optimized design outcomes and to illustrate the impact of multiple ‘alternate design decisions’ on the daylighting performance.

Typically daylighting designs require modeling, which can be cost prohibitive. The Daylighting Pattern Guide allows designers to integrate daylighting into their plans without the time and expense of modeling.

“Lighting consumes about a quarter of all electricity in buildings, and using daylight as a source of illumination offers the potential for significant energy savings,” said Mark Frankel, NBI’s technical director. “When done right, daylighting is a powerful design strategy that not only lowers building operating costs, but promotes comfort and productivity of occupants.”

Key daylight patterns – variables including orientation, glazing layout, area, shading strategies, furniture layout, ceiling height – that contribute to the success or failure of a daylighting design were also identified. This information allows users to differentiate between good built examples of daylit space, the information generated by design analysis tools, and the ‘rule of thumb’ guidelines that designers commonly apply.

“Daylighting strategies can be overwhelming and many teams hire consultants to create digital models and simulations,” said Christopher Meek, an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Washington and lighting specialist at the Integrated Design Lab in Seattle. “With this guide, architects and lighting designers can easily demonstrate to their clients why certain strategies should or should not be used to improve the performance, comfort, aesthetics, and energy efficiency of a project.”

Co-developer Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, an assistant professor at the University of Idaho and director of the Integrated Design Lab in Boise, added, “The guide was designed to intuitively and visually instruct users to the strengths and drawbacks of multiple daylighting design alternatives in a rapid fashion.”

The Daylighting Pattern Guide is the result of a collaboration between NBI, the Integrated Design Labs in Seattle and Boise. The lead developers include Meek and Wymelenberg, who bring more than 20 years of experience in daylighting design to this project.

Access the new Daylighting Pattern Guide at www.advancedbuildings.net/patternguide; registration required. A 1 hour webinar on the Daylighting Pattern Guide and principles of effective daylighting design is also available.

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