The design and testing of a daylighting device : optimising the energy and optical performance of Australian commercial buildings

Isoardi, Gillian Louise (2009) The design and testing of a daylighting device : optimising the energy and optical performance of Australian commercial buildings. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The effective daylighting of multistorey commercial building interiors poses an interesting problem for designers in Australia’s tropical and subtropical context. Given that a building exterior receives adequate sun and skylight as dictated by location-specific factors such as weather, siting and external obstructions; then the availability of daylight throughout its interior is dependant on certain building characteristics: the distance from a window façade (room depth), ceiling or window head height, window size and the visible transmittance of daylighting apertures. The daylighting of general stock, multistorey commercial buildings is made difficult by their design limitations with respect to some of these characteristics. The admission of daylight to these interiors is usually exclusively by vertical windows. Using conventional glazing, such windows can only admit sun and skylight to a depth of approximately 2 times the window height. This penetration depth is typically much less than the depth of the office interiors, so that core areas of these buildings receive little or no daylight. This issue is particularly relevant where deep, open plan office layouts prevail. The resulting interior daylight pattern is a relatively narrow perimeter zone bathed in (sometimes too intense) light, contrasted with a poorly daylit core zone. The broad luminance range this may present to a building occupant’s visual field can be a source of discomfort glare. Furthermore, the need in most tropical and subtropical regions to restrict solar heat gains to building interiors for much of the year has resulted in the widespread use of heavily tinted or reflective glazing on commercial building façades. This strategy reduces the amount of solar radiation admitted to the interior, thereby decreasing daylight levels proportionately throughout. However this technique does little to improve the way light is distributed throughout the office space. Where clear skies dominate weather conditions, at different times of day or year direct sunlight may pass unobstructed through vertical windows causing disability or discomfort glare for building occupants and as such, its admission to an interior must be appropriately controlled. Any daylighting system to be applied to multistorey commercial buildings must consider these design obstacles, and attempt to improve the distribution of daylight throughout these deep, sidelit office spaces without causing glare conditions. The research described in this thesis delineates first the design optimisation and then the actual prototyping and manufacture process of a daylighting device to be applied to such multistorey buildings in tropical and subtropical environments.

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ID Code: 36909
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Cowling, Ian & Coyne, Steven
Keywords: commercial buildings Lighting, daylighting
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:06
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2012 06:25

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