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The Benefits of Daylight Modeling

Comparing Design Options

Once you’ve made the important decision to introduce natural daylight to a space, there are still endless ways to go about it. But there aren’t endless ways to get it right. There are material selections, placement and opening size options, as well as building geometries and space orientation to consider.

Daylight modeling allows you to compare multiple designs to see how they will perform.

Material Selection

Not sure whether translucent or transparent glazing is right for your project? Our daylight modeling can show the light levels you’ll achieve with our translucent panels, which diffuse light deeper into spaces versus glass. You’ll be able to identify areas where the glare admitted by glass windows is acceptable and where it’s not. All we need is the visible light transmittance value of the glass being used and we can provide valuable data for your design.

Placement and Rough Openings

Are you planning to daylight with clerestories? Punched wall openings? S-line unit skylights? Or maybe you are looking for more monumental daylighting. Daylight modeling can show the impact of these different placement options and identify where you might need to add, or even be able to subtract, daylighting elements.

Building Geometry and Space Orientation

Is your massing strategy working based on your solar orientation? Are your light wells configured correctly or are they too deep or not splayed enough? Do your roof’s overhangs cause excessive shading that undermines your daylighting strategy? There’s so much more to learn about your daylighting designs through the process of daylight modeling. Try it yourself and experience daylighting done right.

Modeled with punched wall openings

Modeled with punched wall openings and skylights

Verifying Light Levels

The amount of daylight required in a space varies with the specific task(s) being performed and the age of the occupants. Our knowledgeable representatives and daylighting specialists can help ensure you’re meeting the light levels each space needs, verified by the science of modeling.

Useful Daylighting Illuminance (UDI) is one metric measured by modeling. UDI describes multiple categories of ‘usable’ lux levels in a space, reporting a percentage of floor area that falls within a specified illuminance range for 50% of the time. 300–3000 lux is considered a desirable lighting level in most cases.

There are also several creditable organizations that make light-level recommendations. Some of those organizations are:

Some spaces where it’s very important to think about light levels:

Predict Sources of Glare

Daylight is not sunlight. The very practice of daylighting assumes some solar control. Traditional glazing, with glass, does not control the sunlight entering a space, often introduces glare issues and is not daylighting at all. To control glare, people use blinds or shades. Louvers or complex lighting controls may be installed. But with daylight modeling, you can predict where glare may be an issue and prevent these additional costs.

Measuring Visual Daylight Glare Probability (DGP) helps to identify potential problem areas where glare is a concern and where visual acuity is critical. Glare may only be an issue during certain times of the year, month or day, in which case your design does not need to be adjusted.

But glare is a major health and safety concern. In schools and offices where people areworking, glare disrupts visual comfort and reduces productivity. In pools, glare can prevent a lifeguard from seeing swimmers in the water. In nursing homes and other spaces, it can cause a trip hazard for the elderly.

Not accounting for glare can be a huge detriment once a building is occupied. Daylight modeling will help you avoid unforeseen issues.

Glass skylights create many points of excessive glare (modeled in red)

Kalwall skylights remove excessive glare, except by remaining glass window

Document Code Compliance

Daylighting is a sustainable building practice. It reduces electric and HVAC costs and provides proven health benefits for humans. Our daylight modeling allows you to document daylighting credits within these programs and others:

  • LEED®
  • CHPS
  • WELL™ v2

Kalwall has been a part of thousands of sustainably certified projects. And you can check out our portfolio to see the beautiful results our translucent daylighting creates.

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