Lessons from three daylighting systems used in traditional architecture of the United Arab Emirates Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper presents the results of an evaluation of three daylighting systems used in the indigenous architecture of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), located in Dubai (latitude 25°N longitude 55°E). The purpose of this research was to investigate the daylighting performance of three of the most common daylighting systems found in indigenous buildings of the UAE: Type I-Traditional double panel windows, Dreeshah; Type II- Gypsum decorative panels, Mesbah; and Type III- Wind tower, Barjeel. The lighting performance parameters examined were illuminance level, light distribution, uniformity and glare. These parameters were compared to the recommended light levels specified in IESNA and CIBSE standards. The RADIANCE program was used to evaluate the lighting performance of the three daylighting systems under clear sky conditions. On-site measurements were also conducted to validate the lighting performance generated by the simulations. The prototypes tested in this research showed different outcomes. From the results, the overall lighting performance of the gypsum decorative panel prototype outperforms the other prototypes under clear sky conditions. These prototypes carry an aesthetic and identity value to the culture of the UAE. Through the use of the derived values and conclusions, local public awareness can be increased on the importance of preserving indigenous buildings and the numerous lessons that can be learned from their study.

author list (cited authors)

  • AlNuaimi, M. D., & Beltrán, L. O.

publication date

  • December 2007