Basics of Daylighting in a Green Environment
The use of natural sunlight, known as daylighting, to illuminate a building can save energy, reduce operating costs, create visual appeal, and enhance occupant health and productivity. The U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) rating system encourages the use of daylighting to achieve high performance buildings. This course provides an introduction to the use of daylighting in commercial spaces. The course objective is to show why daylighting should be considered, the basic guidelines of using daylighting and some words of caution when using certain daylighting techniques.

4.7 Light Shelves

Light shelves are horizontal devices which help daylight penetrate farther into a space while helping to control direct solar glare. Design parameters to consider include:

  • Can improve illuminance distribution and reduce glare
  • Can double as a shading device
  • Best used on the south side of a building in a climate with predominantly clear skies
  • Consider using clearer glass above the light shelf and tinted below
  • Light shelves that extend outside the building are generally most effective but use interior and exterior light shelves for year-round daylight distribution
  • The top of the light shelf should be matte or semi-diffuse and not visible from anywhere in the room
  • The room ceiling should be smooth and light colored

Light Shelf on Greenpeace Building in London

Light Shelves at Parliament Building in London

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