Models of optical characteristics of barrel-vault skylights: development, validation and application

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1191/1365782805li141oa
AuthorSearch for:
TypeArticle
Journal titleLighting Research & Technology
Volume37
IssueSeptember 3
Pages235264; # of pages: 30
Subjectbarrel, vault, skylight, skylight, SkyVision, optical characteristics; Skylights
AbstractBy admitting natural light deep into a building and connecting occupants with the outside, skylights can improve the aesthetic look of buildings and increase occupant satisfaction. In addition, by allowing the entry of natural light electric light levels can be reduced thereby leading to energy savings. However, the potential energy benefits and amenities of skylights have not been fully exploited in today's building design due to some theoretical and technical challenges. The lack of design tools is one of the major hurdles building designers face to adopt such products and quantify their energy benefits. The optical characteristics of skylights are the significant factors affecting their energy benefits. Recognizing this gap, the SkyVision tool was developed to assist skylight manufacturers and building designers in developing appropriate skylight designs for given building types and daylighting applications. This paper describes the models implemented in SkyVision to compute the optical characteristics of barrel vault skylights with clear, fully translucent or partially diffusing glazing under beam and diffuse light. The models are based on the ray-tracing technique. Under diffuse light, two models are developed: (1) a luminance-based model when the sky luminance distribution is known, and (2) an illuminance-based model when the illuminance on a horizontal surface is rather known. The second model is simpler and faster and more suitable for annual performance calculation. Experimental measurements of the skylight transmittance were conducted under real sky conditions to validate the model predictions. The actual measurements compared reasonably well with the model predictions. The predictions from the luminance-based and illuminance-based models showed good agreement with each other. When applied to an example study, the models predicted that vault skylights with clear glazing are more effective than flat skylights with similar glazing in boosting the beam light transmittance, particularly in winter days. Translucent vault skylights are more effective than flat skylights with similar glazing in reducing solar heat gains, particularly in summer days. Translucent skylights may out-perform transparent skylights, particularly during sunny days in winter.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number47289
16387
NPARC number20377192
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Record identifiercc784fc4-8ad1-4370-bff0-ce0f458d5411
Record created2012-07-24
Record modified2016-05-09
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