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Openings and


Glazed openings constitute a thermal discontinuity point in a building's

It is recommended that many openings be used on the southern facade
and only those openings be used on the northern facade which are
absolutely essential. It is also advisable to avoid openings on the
eastern and western facades.
Energy transfer by openings via conduction and convection is usually a
detriment and, therefore, it should be limited. Energy transfer through
radiation could be utilized in the winter for heating by solar radiation.
The openings in a building are a break in its external thermal envelope:
inward and outward transfer of energy is quicker through the openings
than through the opaque envelope, and occurs via convection,
conduction and radiation.
The opening in a building's envelope could be its weak point
energetically, if not correctly designed. However, it could also be
beneficial when designed and detailed appropriately.

As an energy weak point, the opening could cause:

In winter-loss of energy from the interior outwards by conduction (through the
window material), convection (through cracks in connecting points between the
wall and window) and radiation (through the glazing). Therefore, the building
cools off and it becomes necessary to invest energy in heating.
In summer-addition of energy from the outside inwards (with the same
methods as in winter, but in the opposite direction). Therefore, the building
heats up and it becomes necessary to cool it.

The energy benefits to be obtained from the openings:

In winter-with proper design it is often possible (depending on the climatic
conditions) to achieve a positive energy balance with the window. In other
words, in such cases the quantity of energy the building would lose through the
window will be smaller than the quantity of energy gained from solar radiation.
This is particularly true of southern windows.
In summer-a window permits natural ventilation at night and cooling of the
building in preparation for the next day.

Building openings fulfill the following functions:

Introducing daylight
Infiltration of fresh air ventilation
Visual contact with the outside
Passage in and out (in the case of entry doors and other doors with access to
private yards, etc.)
Solar heating

Daylighting and Shading

The most efficient way, in principle, of lighting a building in the daytime, is to admit
daylight. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the luminous efficacy, i.e., the useful visible
light in relation to the total energy of the radiation is high. (The heating effect of
daylight is about 1 W per 100 1m, between 1/2 and 1/10 of typical artificial lighting
alternatives. However, the full saving in unwanted heat gains is not usually realized,
as will be explained later.)

Secondly, daylight is free. Artificial lighting consumes electricity, usually on-peak

electricity, and larger buildings often constitute the largest single category of energy

A further benefit of daylight, is that it usually implies a good visual link between
indoors and outdoors. There is increasing evidence that this quality is essential for
the well- being of occupants, especially in larger non-domestic buildings.

day lighting carries three main disadvantages

Firstly, artificial lighting has to be provided (in the majority of building

types) for occupation during the hours of darkness. Thus the use of day
lighting does not remove the need for the capital expenditure on the
lighting itself.
The second problem is that the source of light, i.e., the sky varies in its
brightness over a wide range. Windows which are sized to provide
sufficient daylight in dull sky conditions, will provide too much light in
bright conditions, and may admit direct sun at certain times.

Finally, if daylight is admitted from the side of a room, illumination levels

close to the window will normally be much higher than necessary in
order to achieve sufficient levels in the darkest part of the room.

Both the latter problems will result in a degree of over-illumination

always and thus unwanted thermal gains, unless properly designed :
devices are employed.

conflict between shading and day lighting is at

the heart of the problem. All too often buildings
are provided with heavy fixed shading devices
which are so effective that the interior is in
permanent semi-darkness unless the lights are

The window opening plus shading device must

be seen as a day lighting system, i.e., a system
which regulates the proportion of light entering
the room, the part of the sky visible from the
room to avoid direct sun, and the distribution of
light within the room.

Daylight Factor

The quantitative parameters which describes a building's day

lighting is the Daylight Factor (DF)-defined as the ratio of the
daylight illuminance in the building to that outside.

Normally, the daylight factor of a building is fixed by the geometry

of the building. Unless the building employs movable devices which
can vary the daylight factor in response to the varying sky
luminance, then the internal daylight illuminance will also vary
widely. It follows that if maximum levels are sufficient, then lower
levels must be inadequate, and vice versa.

Daylighting and Visual Comfort

The light entering a building may be considered as comprising three
separate components:
Direct sunlight
Light from the diffuse sky
Diffusely reflected light from the ground and other buildings
In the overheated period component 1 must always be excluded. This is
carried out by basic building geometry, fixed shading devices, and/ or
moveable shading devices.
Most of the Component usable daylight is from components 2 and 3.
Component 2 varies widely between clear sky and clouded conditions.
Component 3 may present glare problems due to its low angle, but is
probably the most reliable simple solution for tropical and sub-tropical
climates. Generally day lighting design procedures do not cater for the
calculation of useful light due to direct sun lighting.

In the case of light falling on to a point within the building, it can also be broken down
into three components:
Sky component (SC)
Externally reflected component (ERC)
Internally reflected component (IRC)
The sky conditions, in relation to day lighting, vary for different climatic zones.
Temperate zones have predominantly cloudy skies and day lighting design is based
upon this assumed condition.
Hot arid climates have predominantly clear blue skies, often of low luminance but with
very bright ground surfaces.
Warm humid climates have predominantly overcast skies of very high luminance.
The dry and rainy seasons in north India represent conditions including and between
those of the hot arid and warm humid climates.

Windows are the most common way to admit

daylight into a space. Their vertical orientation
means that they selectively admit sunlight and
diffuse daylight at different times of the day and
year. Therefore windows on multiple
orientations must usually be combined to
produce the right mix of light for the building,
depending on the climate and latitude.
There are three ways to improve the amount of
light available from a window:
Place window close to a light colored wall.
Slant the sides of window openings so the inner
opening is larger than the outer opening.
Use a large light colored window sill to project
light into the room.
Different types and grades of glass and
different window treatments can also affect the
amount of light transmission through the

Clerestory windows

Another important element in creating daylighting is the use of

clerestory windows. These are high, vertically-placed windows.
They can be used to increase direct solar gain when oriented
towards the equator. When facing toward the sun, clerestories
and other windows may admit unacceptable glare. In the case of
a passive solar house, clerestories may provide a direct light
path to polar-side (north in the northern hemisphere; south in the
southern hemisphere) rooms that otherwise would not be
illuminated. Alternatively, clerestories can be used to admit
diffuse daylight (from the north in the northern hemisphere) that
evenly illuminates a space such as a classroom or office.

Often, clerestory windows also shine onto interior wall surfaces

painted white or another light color. These walls are placed so
as to reflect indirect light to interior areas where it is needed.
This method has the advantage of reducing the directionality of
light to make it softer and more diffuse, reducing shadows.

Skylight is any horizontal window, roof lantern or oculus, placed at
the roof of the building, often used for daylighting. White
translucent acrylic is a 'Lambertian Diffuser' meaning transmitted
light is perfectly diffused and distributed evenly over affected areas.
This means, among other advantages, that light source quality
standards are measured relative to white acrylic transmission.
White acrylic domes provide even light distribution throughout the
day. Skylights admit more light per unit area than windows, and
distribute it more evenly over a space.

The optimal area of skylights (usually quantified as "effective

aperture") varies according to climate, latitude, and the
characteristics of the skylight, but is usually 4-8% of floor area. The
thermal performance of skylights is affected by stratification, i.e. the
tendency of warm air to collect in the skylight wells, which in cool
climates increases the rate of heat loss. During warm seasons,
skylights with transparent glazings will cause internal heat
problems, which is best treated by placing white translucent acrylic
over or under the transparent skylight glazing.

Light reflectors
Once used extensively in office buildings, the manually
adjustable light reflector is seldom in use today having
been supplanted by a combination of other methods in
concert with artificial illumination. The reflector had found
favor where the choices of artificial light provided poor
illumination compared to modern electric lighting
Light shelves
Light shelves are an effective way to enhance the lighting
from windows on the equator-facing side of a structure,
this effect being obtained by placing a white or reflective
metal light shelf outside the window. Usually the window
will be protected from direct summer season sun by a
projecting eave. The light shelf projects beyond the
shadow created by the eave and reflects sunlight upward
to illuminate the ceiling. This reflected light can contain
little heat content and the reflective illumination from the
ceiling will typically reduce deep shadows, reducing the
need for general illumination.

Light tubes
Another type of device used is the light tube, also
called a solar tube, which is placed into a roof and
admits light to a focused area of the interior. These
somewhat resemble recessed ceiling light fixtures.
They do not allow as much heat transfer as
skylights because they have less surface area.

Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) use modern

technology to transmit visible light through opaque
walls and roofs. The tube itself is a passive
component consisting of either a simple reflective
interior coating or a light conducting fiber optic
bundle. It is frequently capped with a transparent,
roof-mounted dome 'light collector' and terminated
with a diffuser assembly that admits the daylight into
interior spaces and distributes the available light
energy evenly

Sawtooth roof
Another roof-angled glass alternative is a "sawtooth
roof" (found on older factories). Sawtooth roofs have
vertical roof glass facing away from the equator side of
the building to capture diffused light (not harsh direct
equator-side solar gain). The angled portion of the glasssupport structure is opaque and well insulated with a
cool roof and radiant barrier. The sawtooth roof's lighting
concept partially reduces the summer "solar furnace"
skylight problem, but still allows warm interior air to rise
and touch the exterior roof glass in the cold winter, with
significant undesirable heat transfer.
The use of heliostats, mirrors which are moved
automatically to reflect sunlight in a constant direction as
the sun moves across the sky, is gaining popularity as an
energy-efficient method of lighting. A heliostat can be
used to shine sunlight directly through a window or
skylight, or into any arrangement of optical elements, for
example light tubes, that distribute the light where it is

Smart glass
Smart glass is the name given to a class of materials
and devices that can be switched between a
transparent state and a state which is opaque,
translucent, reflective, or retro-reflective. The
switching is done by applying an electric voltage to the
material, or by performing some simple mechanical
operation. Windows, skylights, etc., that are made of
smart glass can be used to adjust indoor lighting,
compensating for changes of the brightness of the
light outdoors and of the required brightness indoors.
Fiber-optic concrete wall
Another way to make a secure structural concrete wall
translucent is to embed optical fiber cables in it.
Daylight (and shadow images) can then pass directly
through a thick solid-concrete wall.

Hybrid solar lighting

This design uses a roof-mounted light collector, large-diameter
optical fiber, and modified efficient fluorescent lighting fixtures
that have transparent rods connected to the optical fiber cables.
Essentially no electricity is needed for daytime natural interior
At night, uses variable-intensity fluorescent lighting electronic
control ballasts. As the sunlight gradually decreases at sunset,
the fluorescent fixture is gradually turned up to give a nearconstant level of interior lighting from daylight until after it
becomes dark outside.

In a well-designed isolated solar gain building with a solarium,
sunroom, greenhouse, etc., there is usually significant glass on
the equator side. A large area of glass can also be added between
the sun room and your interior living quarters. Low-cost highvolume-produced patio door safety glass is an inexpensive way to
accomplish this goal.
The doors used to enter a room, should be opposite the sun room
interior glass, so that a user can see outside immediately when
entering most rooms. Halls should be minimized with open spaces
used instead. If a hall is necessary for privacy or room isolation,
inexpensive patio door safety glass can be placed on both sides of
the hall. Drapes over the interior glass can be used to control
lighting. Drapes can optionally be automated with sensor-based
electric motor controls that are aware of room occupancy, daylight,
interior temperature, and time of day. Passive solar buildings with
no central air conditioning system need control mechanisms for
hourly, daily, and seasonal, temperature-and-daylight variations. If
the temperature is correct, and a room is unoccupied, the drapes
can automatically close to reduce heat transfer in either direction.

For centuries, daylight was the only efficient source of

light available. Architecture was dominated by the goal of
spanning wide spaces and creating openings large
enough to distribute daylight to building interiors.
Efficient artificial light sources and fully glazed facades
have liberated designers from these constraints of the
Advanced daylighting systems and control strategies are
another step forward in providing daylit, user-friendly,
energy-efficient building environments. These systems
need to be integrated into a buildings overall
architectural strategy and incorporated into the design
process from its earliest stages.

Daylighting strategies and architectural

design strategies are inseparable.
Daylight not only replaces artificial lighting,
reducing lighting energy use, but also
influences both heating and cooling loads.
Planning for daylight therefore involves
requirements of various specialties and
Daylighting design starts with the selection
of a building site and continues as long as
the building is occupied.

Daylight Availability
All daylighting strategies make use of the luminance
distribution from the sun, sky, buildings, and
Daylight strategies depend on the availability of
natural light, which is determined by the latitude of
the building site and the conditions immediately
surrounding the building, e.g., the presence of
Daylighting strategies are also affected by climate;
thus, the identification of seasonal, prevailing climate
conditions, particularly ambient temperatures and
sunshine probability, is a basic step in daylight design.
Studying both climate and daylight availability at a
construction site is key to understanding the operating
conditions of the buildings facade.

Daylight availability data has been

monitored every minute at more
than 50 stations worldwide since
1991 (http://idmp.entpe.fr)
and has also been monitored in the
Meteosat satellite every half hour
from 19961997 (under beta

High latitudes have distinct summer and winter

conditions; the seasonal variation of daylight levels is less
apparent at low latitudes. At high latitudes where winter
daylight levels are low, designers usually aim to maximize
daylight penetration in a building; redirection of daylight
into buildings from the brightest regions of the sky is an
appropriate strategy at these latitudes.
By contrast, in the tropics where daylight levels are high
throughout the year, the design emphasis is usually on
preventing overheating by restricting the amount of
daylight entering the building. The obstruction of large parts
of the sky, especially of areas near the zenith, and the
admission of daylight only from lower parts of the sky or of
indirect light reflected from the ground are useful strategies
in tropical regions.
Daylight availability strongly depends not only on the
latitude but also on a buildings orientation; each orientation
will require a different design emphasis.

The Building Site and Obstructions

At a construction site, the sky is usually obstructed to some extent by
surrounding buildings and vegetation.
Studying the obstructions at a construction site tells a designer about
the daylight potential of the buildings facades and allows him or her
to shape the building and to allocate floor areas with respect to
daylight availability.
In many cases, buildings are self-obstructing, so building design and
obstruction studies become interconnected.

Several methods and tools are available to analyze

obstructions. The basic approaches are:
plotting the no-sky line on the work plane of a selected space; the nosky line divides points on the work plane that can and cannot see the sky
examining obstructions from one specific view point by projecting the
suns course or a daylight availability chart on a representation of the
building site
computing the amount of incident daylight and radiation for specific
locations and orientations on the site; or
projecting shadows that will fall on the facade or ground when the sun is
in specific positions; this approach gives an overview of the availability of
sunlight at the site .
For heavily obstructed facades, daylight-redirecting systems
can improve the distribution of light to interior spaces. Glass
prisms have been used for this purpose for more than a
hundred years; today a range of systems can be used,
including holographic elements, lasercut panels, and anidolic

The work of architects such as Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier,

and Louis Kahn show how to use architectural design
features to create impressive spaces with daylight

Building Schemes and Building Types

Daylight design and building design can merge to different degrees.
In some buildings, such as churches , the daylighting strategy and the building design
scheme are almost identical; in buildings where the organization of floor areas is complex,
daylight is treated as one design issue among a host of others.
The more that daylight is the generating factor for a design, the more the daylighting
strategy is an architectural strategy.
A conventional window may be adequate to distribute daylight to a shallow office room, but
bringing daylight into deep spaces requires more complex design strategies.

One of the first steps in planning for daylight is to list all of a projects floor spaces
and determine the lighting requirements of these areas.
The required daylight level and degree of control over the visual environment are
among the most important criteria
Performance parameters should be checked during the initial design phase.
Incorrect assumptions about the distribution of daylight within the space will result in
poor daylighting performance
If the performance of the daylight strategy depends on the performance of particular
daylighting systems, these systems have to be included in the prediction method.
Rules of thumb, graphical methods, and simulation of daylight with physical or
computer models are applicable at this stage of the design process
Most of these methods do not adequately account for a designs thermal behavior
even though the thermal strategy and the daylighting strategy are inseparably linked;
a daylighting design should therefore include thermal calculations