Identifying The Relationship Between Daylighting Design, Occupant Satisfaction, And Perceived Performance

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There is a lot of excitement over the idea of "going green" when it comes to buildings because it is associated with energy savings and a reduced environmental footprint. Daylighting, or lighting interior spaces via natural light, is one such strategy already receiving attention from designers, but without a fuller understanding and sounder implementation strategies daylighting might not be optimized and worse, may pose a hindrance to occupants. This study puts the spotlight on the occupant as it examines the usefulness of daylighting and investigates the impact daylighting has on occupant comfort, satisfaction, and perceived performance. It also investigates what features of a specific daylighting design strategy have the greatest impacts. The methodology for this study includes the creation and usage of a daylighting design evaluation toolkit comprised of an occupant visual environment survey, lumen meter, fisheye lens camera, and glare-identifying computer software. Seventy-five occupants from a university laboratory building participated. Results showed that occupants in daylit spaces are more satisfied with their work environment, although conclusions regarding perceived performance could not be made. Exterior horizontal shading was found to have the strongest association to higher comfort and satisfaction ratings. Small scale fixed exterior vertical shading was actually found to have a negative correlation to occupant comfort and satisfaction, although this may be due to the specific vertical shading design. Further exploration with the data revealed that occupants who had glare in their workspace glare did not report dissatisfaction with it, but those with veiling reflections from electric light sources did report significant dissatisfaction. Additionally, occupants with controls over their electric lights showed greater satisfaction with the amount of light at their workstations.

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