Volume 47, Issue 11 - November 2012


Lighten Up
Options Abound For Daylighting Designs

When we talk glazing trends “daylighting” is one word that often comes to mind. While people may talk a lot about it, for some there is still uncertainty about what, exactly, daylighting is. It’s more than just a few windows and a skylight. As explained by the Daylighting Collaborative, daylighting “is the practice of using natural light to illuminate building spaces. Rather than relying solely on electric lighting during the day, daylighting brings indirect natural light into the building. Daylighting reduces the need for electric lighting and connects people to the outdoors. And it provides pleasing illumination at a fraction of the cost of the most efficient electric lights.”

Glass can play a significant part in daylighting designs and a number of companies have developed products ideal for such projects. There are a significant number of daylighting innovations available.

Sun Seekers
Advanced Glazings Ltd. offers the Solera line of translucents, which can be specified with a range of visual light transmittance and diffusion. According to the company, the Solera line of products, designed to fit into standard curtainwall, storefront, window and skylight systems, provide the ability to engineer the appropriate thermal performance for the building envelope. The product lines are engineered to be highly configurable, allowing for the control of: light diffusion and transmittance; solar gain; thermal insulation; sound transmittance; aesthetics; and safety.

Solera can be fabricated with a variety of glazing compositions, including heat-strengthened, tempered and laminated; with various combinations of veil choices to control diffusion, visual light transmittance and solar gain; and with the transparent InsolCore, which disrupts the convection cycle of heat transfer. In addition, Lumira aerogel is also available.


Illuminating Options
Light shelves and sunshades are two options available for daylighting designs. Tubelite Inc. offers aLuminate light shelves as well as Max/Block sun shades.

aLuminate’s reflector extrusions feature a wave-type pattern designed to diffuse sunlight and project it deep into the room. The light shelves are designed for use with the company’s curtainwall and storefront systems and are also compatible with many other manufacturers’ aluminum framing systems, during new construction or as a retrofit application.

The light shelves are available in 18-, 24-, 30- and 36-inch in-rigger projection depths with horizontal spans up to 60 inches.

Also from Tubelite, the Max/Block sun shades are available in airfoil, Z-blade and tubular architectural profiles. Each outrigger type can be extended from the building in various projection lengths to provide the desired performance. Blades are attached to the outriggers using simple screw spline connections. The detachable mounting bracket fastens at the pressure plate area and allows for the removal of the sun shades’ individual sections for re-glazing applications.


Maximize Natural Light and Energy Efficiency
Clear Story aluminum sun shades and light shelves from Wausau Window and Wall Systems are manufactured using high recycled content, and coupled with the benefits of daylight and outside views, these features may aid buildings seeking certification under such programs as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System.

The Clear Story products are integrated with the curtainwall and window systems’ engineering and manufacturing. According to the company, this allows it to ensure proper structural support of the shade and shelf loads, continuity of line, as well as integral alignment and anchorage.


Daylighting Alternatives
Products such as windows, sunshades and light shelves may be ones that first come to mind when thinking about daylighting design, but they are not the only ones that can fit the bill. In fact, acid-etched mirror can also be used to achieve daylighting effects. According to Marc Deschamps with Walker Glass in Montreal, daylight harvesting is transitioning, going from a practice encouraged by energy programs to one required by energy codes and standards.

“The value proposition for daylight harvesting is fairly simple: as daylight levels increase in a space, electric light levels can automatically decrease to maintain a target task-light level and save energy,” says Deschamps, explaining that acid-etched mirrors can be used to capture daylight and control glare. They can also be used to keep daylight in selected areas of a space and diffuse daylight for better visual comfort.

And which applications are ideal? There are many. These include doors, shelves, furniture components, decorative accents, wall cladding, sliding walls, free-standing structures and more.



Did You Know: Toplighting vs. Sidelighting
What’s the difference between toplighting and sideliting? According to the Daylighting Collaborative, toplighting brings daylight into the building from above through clerestories, skylights, tubular skylights, sawtooth designs, etc. So, any daylight above 10 feet--even through a vertical opening--is considered toplighting.

The Collaborative explains that sidelighting, on the other hand, brings daylight into the building from the side through windows, curtainwalls, etc.

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