Daylight Studies

The sun never knew how great it was until it hit the side of a building.

Louis I. Kahn

PhD Carlo Volf of the Aarhus School of Architecture – (Arkitektskolen Aarhus) created film about light, architecture and health showing variations in artificial light and daylight over a day and a year.

These timelapse studies reveal the subtle changes in light levels and quality in varying times of the year, in all four cardinal directions. It is useful to see them presented side by side in rooms of nearly identical configuration. The rotating “compass” of the body’s circadian rhythms is a nice feature to visualize how internal systems are timed according to external cues.

Christoph Reinhart writes in his Daylighting Handbook I “A daylit space is primarily lit with natural light and combines high occupant satisfaction with the visual and thermal environment with low overall energy use for lighting, heating and cooling.” Electric lighting can be a significant user of energy – both in terms of energy used to create the light but also air conditioning loads that must overcome the waste heat. Too much sunlight can be a heat burden as well and a visual distraction, so Daylighting as an architectural strategy balances the goals of proper illumination, thermal comfort, and psychological well-being.

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