Predicting time-varying illuminance in complex spaces with lighting control systems
In response to environmental concerns, demands for improved energy
efficiency and a desire to create a more pleasant working environment;
building designers are looking for ways to make better use of natural light.
However, whilst natural light is both free and non-polluting, it can also produce
high levels of visual contrast and glare, and unwanted heat.
Most current design techniques estimate the natural internal illumination that
results from an overcast sky; they do not include the contribution by direct
sunlight entering the space, which is often the source of unwanted
characteristics. Whilst a sophisticated computer ray-tracing program
(RADIANCE) exists that can predict the full range of natural illumination, each
prediction can take several minutes (or longer) to calculate. The time required
to examine how a natural lighting design behaves over a typical year can
therefore be prohibitive. Techniques for estimating the illumination provided
by artificial lights also predict illumination under static conditions. Current
techniques are therefore unsuitable for examining the dynamic behaviour of a
lighting design, which links the automatic control of artificial lights to the
changing levels of natural light.
The aim of this research was to develop a computer based lighting design tool
that overcomes these limitations. Based on the calculation of lighting
coefficients, the numeric relationship between the luminance of light sources
and the illuminance they produce, the Dynamic Lighting System (DLS) is able
to calculate time-varying illuminance from a combination of natural light and
artificial lights controlled by a lighting control system.
The DLS has been written using the platform independent programming
language Java. It is therefore able to run unaltered on most computer
platforms, although in practice is limited to platforms on which the ray-tracing
program RADIANCE will run, as RADIANCE is used to calculate coefficients.
The DLS has been tested by comparing predicted levels of illuminance with
levels measured in a test room under real sky conditions. These comparisons
showed a high degree of correlation, but with a few large discrepancies.
Possible causes of these discrepancies are offered and suggestions made
about how they might be eliminated.