Massing

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Introduction

Building form establishes the daylight zone. As the perimeter wall area increases for a given floor area, the potential daylight area increases. Taller, thinner buildings have higher potential daylight fraction than wider shaped buildings. Although the envelope area increases in the narrower buildings, the increased envelope loads can be offset by electric lighting energy savings with improved daylighting controls.

The following illustration shows a comparison of single story verses a four-story building with same floor area. The potential daylight area increases from 25% for a single story building to 60% for a 4-story building.

Source: How Buildings Use Energy, Prepared for Energy Center of Wisconsin by The Weidt Group, 2003
Section Key Resources
  • Daylighting Design Smart and Simple, Electric Power Research Institute, 1997
  • How Buildings Use Energy, Prepared for Energy Center of Wisconsin by The Weidt Group, 2003
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Lead Author(s): Vinay Ghatti

Self-Shading

The building form along with proper orientation and footprint can aid daylighting by providing self shading through building mass, wings and other mass articulations, balconies, deep reveals, or arcades. A façade with some depth creates a buffer zone that can contain shading elements and other modifiers to filter direct sun to reduce glare. Further, other building elements such as overhangs, louvers, fins, and light shelves can be integrated with building structure. Although such sun control measures reduce direct sun and glare, they may also reduce useful daylight due to reduced access to sky dome. Thus, an optimum design needs to balance such trade-offs.















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Lead Author(s): Vinay Ghatti

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