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Balancing Daylight, LEDs, and Controls: The Future of Lighting for Designers

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Architectural Design Topics in Architectural Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.222.1 - 24.222.14



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Paper Authors


Lisa A. VanZee Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Lisa VanZee is an Assistant Professor in Interior Design at Purdue University. She began her career in computer visualization, where she was involved in computer graphics technology, art‐animation research and teaching. She holds an Computer Graphics Technology and an M.F.A. in Interior
Design. Her previous work experience includes three‐dimensional rendering and animation for architectural and engineering firms. Her research interests focus on interior visualization and lighting analysis, with both natural and artificial lighting techniques, and building information modeling (BIM).

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Balancing Daylight, LEDs, and Controls: The Future of Lighting for DesignersLighting design requires a balance between natural and electric sources to address thecontemporary issues of sustainability and human well-being. The current generation of designersis being tasked with finding a balance between these light sources, while also addressingperformance metrics, codes, and user satisfaction. Despite advances in technology, manypractitioners still use previous work experience and rules of thumb to rely on lighting choicesduring the schematic design phase (Reinhart and LoVerso, 2010).Current methods to evaluate daylight prior to the design phase are wide-ranging and notstandardized nor regulated. Simulations offer an effective means to refine a daylighting conceptlater in the design process, but since many design teams still lack the know-how, time, orresources for such detailed design investigations, the daylighting analysis of many buildingsbegins and ends with the use of rules of thumb (Reinhart and LoVerso, 2010). Rating systemsand energy codes require a performance metric related to daylight in order to show compliance,but to date there is not a widely accepted metric to recognize well-daylit buildings (Leslie, 2011).LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements acknowledge theadvantages in daylight, but there is still disconnect between theory and practice of planning fornatural light. As a result, designers are resorting more to simulation as a means of demonstratingcompliance with various rating systems (Mardaljevic, 2009). Additionally, new technology inelectric sources, like LEDs, require designers to understand the characteristics and energysavings potential and the trade-offs between natural and electric light.This study examined the tools available for interior design students to plan and design fordaylighting and LED sources. Calculation tools and simulations were used to provide a lightingsolution that can reduce energy and ensure adequate light levels. Students used different softwaretools to establish design criteria for natural light, and then analyzed the data to incorporateelectric light in supplemental spaces. Appropriate lighting and shading controls were discussedand a lighting control plan was developed to account for switching between the use of daylightand electric light.The interior spaces studied reveal that natural light is integral to the success of the design andacts as a major unifying element within the space. Students discovered that aesthetically theirdesigns were better with daylight, and the variation in light due to climate, time of year, andweather conditions impacted the interior spaces dramatically. Natural daylight within thebuildings provides adequate illumination levels for tasks, and during the absence of natural light,the LED light sources supplemented the spaces with minimal energy requirements. Studentsunderstood that technology to predict the quality and quantity of light should be part of thedesign process from the beginning, and that a rendered still image did not adequately describe aspace as it could not show the variations of lighting over time. From the perspective of designimpact, energy savings, environmental benefit and occupant comfort, designers must plan forlighting (natural and electric) in the beginning of the design process. 2REFERENCESLeslie, R., Radetsky, L., & Smith, A. (2012). Conceptual design metrics for daylighting.Lighting Research and Technology, 44(3), 277-290.Mardaljevic, J., Heschong, L., & Lee, E. (2009). Daylight metrics and energy savings. LightingResearch and Technology, 41(3), 261-283.Reinhart, C., & LoVerso, V. (2010). A rules of thumb-based design sequence for diffuse daylight.Lighting Research and Technology, 42(1), 7-31.

VanZee, L. A. (2014, June), Balancing Daylight, LEDs, and Controls: The Future of Lighting for Designers Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20113

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