Assessment of daylight qualities in sustainable buildings Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper presents the findings of a study that is evaluating the daylight performance of three recently built certified "sustainable buildings" located in a hot and humid climate (Houston, Texas). These buildings are illuminated mainly through sidelighting windows, clerestories, and diffusing skylights. The evaluation consisted of site visits, occupant's surveys, annual computer simulations implemented with new dynamic daylight metrics. The goal of this research project was to demonstrate that the good practice of sustainable daylight design is more complex than what current rating systems require. Preliminary results of the evaluations have confirmed that the buildings achieved the illuminance levels required by the rating systems. However, simulations of overall annual illuminance levels showed inadequate illuminance levels to offset electric lighting throughout the year, and also identified the presence of glare at several locations throughout the buildings. Occupant's surveys demonstrated that high percentage of occupants enjoy and find visually-attractive the lighting in their workspaces, however, there are occupants that reported problems of glare (about 20% of the surveyed sample). Those occupants seated next to large south- and west-facing windows, unshaded clerestories, and under diffusing skylights reported problems of glare, as was measured onsite and predicted by annual simulation tools. Other occupants reported problems related to uncomfortable temperature, as well as being unable to work with the electric lights off. Copyright © (2009) by the International Solar Energy Society.

author list (cited authors)

  • Beltrán, L. O., & Farias, F.

publication date

  • December 2009