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Daylight must be given higher priority

Daylight considerably affects human performance which is why it needs to be given even greater priority by architects, contractors and legislators who need to be equipped with the right tools to exploit daylight in buildings.

At the second international VELUX Daylight Symposium in Bilbao, Spain, renowned daylight experts presented their research findings which showed that daylight stimulates concentration, motivation and coordination.

On 6-7 May 2007, participants from 24 nations (about 300 architects, lighting specialists, teachers and others with an interest in the subject) gathered at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to take part in the second international VELUX Daylight Symposium. The theme of the symposium was the effect of daylight on people’s lives and work performance – and a number of international daylight experts presented their latest findings in the field. Among them were Lisa Heschong and James R. Benya, both of whom have worked with daylight in buildings in the sunshine state of California.

“Studies in the United States have shown an association between the presence of daylight and outdoor views and better student learning outcomes, as well as better cognitive performance in offices and sales in retail spaces. Light is a “drug” that stimulates the production of serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acids in the human body enhancing impulse control, motivation, muscle coordination, calmness and focus”, says Lisa Heschong.

Lisa Heschong is the principal of Heschong Mahone Group and a licensed architect who has divided her professional practice between energy research, writing and building design. As a researcher, she led the project teams which analysed the impacts of daylighting on human performance for the Daylighting and Productivity Studies funded through Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the California Energy Commission.

”It is time for architects, engineers and designers worldwide to always consider these impacts in design for the built environment. Beyond good design practice, it is perhaps time to demand daylighted environments through codes and standards that make well-daylighted buildings the rule, rather than the exception. In schools, where mankind’s future spends much of its waking hours, it is a no-brainer”, says by James R. Benya, an independent lighting and daylighting consultant with a broad international practice.

“Most architects are passionate about the use of daylight in architecture. All architects have an opinion about light, but they rarely analyse daylight conditions in their buildings in advance. We want to help provide the necessary knowledge and tools to promote thorough research and analysis”, says Per Arnold Andersen, department head of Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate from VELUX.

At the first symposium in Budapest, linking daylight as a science with daylight as a vital architectural element in practical building design was discussed. This debate continued in Bilbao, and Dr. John Mardaljevic from the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University in England criticised the traditional daylight factor method, established a half-century ago. Because it is founded on illuminance ratios under a standard overcast sky, the daylight factor is insensitive to both the orientation of the building and any notion of climate.

“Recently developed computer simulation techniques can accurately predict luminous quantities using realistic sun and sky conditions that are derived from standard meteorological datasets. These climate-based modelling approaches reveal the true daylighting potential of buildings and can be used to predict a variety of illumination metrics at all stages of the design evaluation process”, says John Mardaljevic.

Throughout its history, VELUX has keenly focused on the optimal use of daylight in all kinds of buildings. This keen interest is naturally linked to the skylight window, a product which the company has developed and refined for more than 60 years. Through the design and production of its windows and accessories, which regulate the inflow of light and control sunlight, as well as initiatives relating to legislation and research in the areas of daylight and indoor environment, the company has continued to express its interest in the use of daylight.

Stimulating an interest in daylight in modern architecture is an important mission for VELUX - not only the daylight that enters through the products VELUX manufactures – but also daylight in general. From large-scale town planning to the individual building and its space. The VELUX Daylight Symposium and the international award assignment for students of architecture - “the International VELUX Award for Students of Architecture” with the com-mon theme of “Light of Tomorrow” are some of the most important initiatives in this area.

Read about the VELUX Daylight Symposium 2007 and all its findings by logging onto: www.thedaylightsite.com


For more information please contact:

Lone Ellersgaard
Communications Manager
VELUX A/S
Ådalsvej 99
2970 Hørsholm
Phone: +45 45 16 48 18
E-mail: press@velux.com  

About VELUX
VELUX creates better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme contains a wide range of roof windows and skylights, along with solutions for flat roofs. In addition, VELUX offers many types of decoration and sun screening, roller shutters, installation prod-ucts, products for remote control and thermal solar panels for installation in roofs. VELUX, which has manufacturing companies in 10 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, is one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector and its products are sold in most parts of the world. The VELUX Group has around 9,500 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S. VKR Holding A/S is a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. For more details, visit www.velux.com.