Energy and Environment Implications for Buildings: Daylight

Energy and environmental considerations for buildings have typically been in the form of prescription: material specifications and/or design guidelines. These prescriptions not only limit the designer, but have also been shown to have little effect on energy consumption. The fundamental flaw of the prescriptive approach is that it accepts by fiat the existing outdated systems approach along with nineteenth century conceptions of the natural environment. If we were to rethink the nature of the physical environment, we would begin to realize that there is substantial energy savings to be gained from dismantling the standard ambient systems (HVAC, lighting) and designing the transient human experience in a building instead of specifying the anonymous and ubiquitous ambient system. Furthermore, the designer\’s input into the design process would be expanded rather than constrained.Lighting is by far the single largest consumer of electricity in this country. As a result, the majority of \”green\” guidelines for building design call for an increase in the use of daylight. The incorporation of daylight into buildings had tended to be problematic – bringing large heat gains and thermal swings at the building envelope, and, in many cases, requiring more artificial illumination to offset the high contrasts. If we could begin to respond to and interact with the transient and specific behavior of daylight, rather than asking daylight to act as a direct substitute for electrical lighting, then we may be able to enhance the human visual experience while significantly reducing energy usage.The course will examine the physics and behavior of daylight. New technologies, such as light pipes and light directing films, will be considered and simulation tools such as Lightscape will be used for analysis. Students will be asked to build-physically and/or virtually-installations that manipulate the properties and behavior of daylight.Prerequisites:GSD 6205 and GSD 2107Students must be proficient in geometric modeling and should have some knowledge of Lightscape.