Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Daylight Savings: Building With Natural Light

Date:
November 15, 2006
Source:
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
Summary:
Using as much natural light in buildings as possible has many advantages over using artificial lights, if its penetration is appropriately controlled, according to assistant professor Marilyne Andersen of MIT's Department of Architecture.

Detail of a skylight designed to redirect and optimize daylight in Marilyne Andersen's MIT office. The assembly includes aluminum slats of varying inclination angles that maximize daylight penetration into the office space while avoiding reflections on the computer screen -- and creating interesting visual effects.
Credit: Photo Marilyne Andersen

Using as much natural light in buildings as possible has many advantages over using artificial lights, if its penetration is appropriately controlled, according to assistant professor Marilyne Andersen of MIT's Department of Architecture.

"Light is not only an amount of energy," said Andersen, who recently gave a Building Technology Lecture Series talk. "It also provides us with the means to reveal spaces and volumes and interact with our environment."

Andersen and others in the Building Technology Program have been working on how to better incorporate natural light into building design. Their research takes into consideration the many positive effects of natural light, including the considerable financial savings in energy bills and the overall effects natural light has on well-being, as well as the challenges natural light presents.

Andersen cited studies in which natural light seemed to improve productivity in the workplace, with further study needed to isolate the effects of daylight. She also spoke of its significant health benefits in terms of regulating human circadian rhythms, for instance. Although the studies are still at an early stage, Andersen did say that researchers know that natural light is "part of our biological needs. Intuitively, we prefer daylight to electric light," she said.

Daylight savings

In a typical building, lighting accounts for 25-40 percent of energy consumption. By allowing more natural light to penetrate and controlling both its light and heat components, the financial savings could be considerable, Andersen said.

In addition to its health and financial benefits, natural light also provides an almost "perfect white light" that has a number of visual benefits. Best of all, natural light is "of course, plentiful," Andersen said during her hour-long talk.

Natural light is not without its issues. These include glare, overheating, variability and privacy issues, since transparent materials must be used. Andersen and her students have been working on ways to increase the positive aspects of using natural light in buildings, while also decreasing the negative.

Addressing glare means keeping sunlight out of the field of view of building occupants while protecting them from disturbing reflections. Addressing overheating means adding appropriate exterior shading, filtering incoming solar radiation or even using passive control means such as thermal mass. Furthermore, addressing the variability and privacy issues requires creative ways to block or alter light patterns and compensate with other light sources.

There is a lot to consider and architects have to find new and innovative ways to simulate the effects of natural light on those who will occupy their buildings, Andersen said.

Building with light

At MIT, there are a number of ways designers may assess the lighting in their building designs. Among these methods are two types of heliodon--the motorized, automated type and the portable, manual type. The two heliodons simulate the course of the sun and use cameras to measure the effects of sunlight inside a building model during different times of both the day and year. With these results, designers and architects are better able to judge their model's adequacy to manage solar penetration and issues such as shadows and sunlight obstructions and high contrasts.

Other ongoing efforts at MIT include both the "LightSolve Project" and the "HelioDome Project."

The "LightSolve Project" attempts to fill the "gap between existing daylighting tools," Andersen said. Although not complete, Andersen hopes the project will "allow the architect to really explore" and synthesize information that would cover the entire year of light, so truly informed decisions can be made about the most appropriate design, also accounting for climate and the location of the building.

The "HelioDome Project" proposes a more time-efficient measurement procedure by relying on calibrated digital cameras as light- or heat-meters, thus addressing both visual and thermal concerns.

These projects, in combination with collaborations outside of MIT with Harvard Medical School and research institutes in California, Canada and Europe, will also lead to new ways of assessing daylight and promote a new generation of metrics including climate concerns and health issues, which will hopefully be integrated into codes standards and, hence, into new constructions or building renovations, Andersen said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. "Daylight Savings: Building With Natural Light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061114194440.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. (2006, November 15). Daylight Savings: Building With Natural Light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061114194440.htm
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. "Daylight Savings: Building With Natural Light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061114194440.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins