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Green design and smart technology for visual comfort


Buildings that are built specifically to be lived in or act as office spaces must take into account human comfort from the design stage all the way to construction. Comfortable indoor environments increase occupants’ productivity, health and overall well-being and thus it is important to ensure occupants well-being is a key decision driver when planning a building.


There are different performance indicators, such as visual comfort, acoustic comfort, thermal comfort and air quality, that can be monitored in order to promote occupant's overall well being, health and performance in indoor spaces. In this article we will explore how visual comfort contributes to occupant wellbeing and how green design and smart technology can be implemented to support it.


Optimal visual comfort increases the level of vitamin B and D in the body as well as synchronizes the natural body clock, improves the quality of sleep and concentration while reducing the need for extra energy used for artificial lighting. Thus, this performance indicator plays a key role in occupant health, productivity, and the building's energy consumption.


So how can green design and smart technology improve visual comfort?


What is visual comfort?


Visual comfort is a key indicator of the performance of our indoor environment. It is a combination of the amount of daylight, the lighting quality from both natural and artificial lighting sources as well as our access to outdoor views. It plays a key role in the occupants well-being, physical capacities, memory, focus and health.


A diverse range of factors can affect visual comfort and two of the most significant ones relate to daylighting and glare.


Daylight pertains to the incoming natural light entering our visual space. The necessary ratio of this natural light to artificial light should be taken into consideration when designing spaces for optimal visual comfort. Meanwhile, glare is the result of discomfort caused by excessive brightness. As is the case for daylight, we can also design building spaces to avoid it.


Starting the design process with passive green design strategies to optimize the provision of daylight and limiting the amount for glare and then implementing smart technologies to correct any shortfalls will improve the overall visual comfort in buildings.


Green design strategies create visual comfort


“During a typical day, we spend approximately 80% of our time in indoor environment, with mostly only artificial light” - Lucibel


To design for daylighting, architecture would be the place to start. As a matter of fact, simple things such as the orientation and shape of