Daylight Optimization

Daylight Optimization: A Parametric
Study of Atrium Design

Orn Erlendsson
Master’s Degree Project, Royal Institute of Technology
School of Architecture and the Built Environment
Division of Building Services and Energy Systems
June 2014, Sweden

This thesis by Orn Erlendsson investigates the design of atria for daylighting in large scale buildings. A three dimensional test building with a central atrium was constructed and various parameters of the atrium altered.

The impact of these changes was studied through computer simulations of annual daylight distribution by implementing state of the art software. Daylight autonomy is simulated for an annual climate file for Stock- holm, Sweden.

In the thesis, notion is made of basic daylighting concepts, the importance of bringing daylight into buildings is argued, and the daylighting criteria of three environmental certification tools introduced. Furthermore, a detailed comparison is made on several well known daylight simulation tools.

A newly developed, state of the art, daylight simulation tool called Honeybee, is used in the simulation process. The tool utilizes the calculation engines of well known daylight simulation software Radiance and Daysim, which apply backward ray-tracing to reach accurate results.  Honeybee is coupled to the graphical algorithm editor Grasshopper for Rhinoceros 3D, which allows for an efficient way of parametric modelling.

The comparison of five different daylight simulation tools showed that Honeybee outweighs the capabilities of many of them by offering a vast range of simulation capabilities and also giving the user exceptional control of result data within multiple zones of the test building.

The results of the daylight study have been compiled into a document which purpose is to serve as early stage design guidelines of atria for architects. Many factors have been shown through simulation to have a dramatic impact on daylight on an annual basis, and several suggestions have been made on how to maximize the quantity of daylight within buildings containing atria.

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