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.

4.6 Examples

Library 1

The libraries of noted architect Alvar Aalto are considered by many to be exemplary examples of effective daylight design. The image below illustrates a typical bay with sunken reading area in the Rovaniemi Library in Finland. Some key points include:

  • The lower portion of the sun scoop, the curved ceiling, receives the most direct skylight. The sun scoop provides good illumination of the book shelves while not being visible to the people in the interior of the space.
  • The upper portion of the sun scoop sees less direct skylight and is therefore less bright. It, along with high angle light directly from the sky, illuminates the reading areas closest to the shelves.
  • The sun scoop acts as a shield protecting the circulation desk from low angle direct glare.

Source: "Concepts and Practice of Architectural Daylighting"

Library 2

The image below shows Aalto's library at Mount Angel Abbey in Portland, OR. The combination of a curved monitor and two sun scoops provides high angle light in the reading rooms while the lower edge of one scoop keeps low angle glare from reaching the circulation desk.

Source: "Concepts and Practice of Architectural Daylighting"

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