Daylighting beyond Instrumentality and Dynamic Metrics
The relationship between sustainable architecture and daylighting design has suffered from a limited approach where architects reduce daylighting to an instrumental quality and objective metrics related to daylighting quantities - devoid of its relationship to aesthetics, daylighting quality, and subjective impacts on space perception and indoor environmental quality. In design practice, architects and engineers place most emphasis on the visible transmittance of glazing and the quantity of daylight rather than spectral properties and the wavelengths that affect physiological response to light. This trend prioritizes daylight’s dynamic metrics as the basis for green building rating systems’ credits criteria. Seldom are other qualities of daylight, such as the biological effective wavelengths from different spectral power distributions or the impacts of daylighting on occupant’s mood and behavior considered.
Non-visual benefits of daylight that affect well-being include: regulating the circadian biological clock, hormones (melatonin, cortisol, etc.), body temperature, heart rate, mood, stress, and depression. These are impacted by different characteristics of daylight such as luminance, spectral power distribution, color rendering index, correlated color temperature, duration of exposure, directionality, dynamics, and timing. Though architects often overlook the energy in the non-visible portions of the light spectrum, it must be considered in the overall appraisal of daylighting systems.
In this paper, we examine a meta-analysis of previous assessments on the relationship between occupant’s health and well-being in relation to metrics, certification systems, and the attributes that guide their interactions. We explore the importance and influence of interdisciplinary research in addressing issues of daylighting design for sustainable architecture, which affect people on an individual, community, and global scale. The paper concludes with frameworks relating health effective light to appropriate metrics which will guide future daylighting design processes for sustainable architecture.
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