Green design and smart technology for visual comfort

Buildings being made for people to live in and must take into account human comfort while being designed. As a matter of fact, comfortable indoor environments increase occupants’ productivity, health and overall well-being.

In a serie of four articles, we will look into 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.

Design Metric Series

Design Metric # 1 - Visual Comfort

Design Metric # 2 - Acoustics

Design Metric # 3 - Air Quality

Design Metric # 4 - Thermal Comfort

Design Metric # 1 - Visual Comfort

Visual comfort increases the level of vitamin B and D in the body as well as synchronizes the body clock, improves the quality of sleep and concentration while reducing your need in energy. Thus, this performance indicator plays a role on your health, productivity, and 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 on our well-being, physical capacities, memory, focus and health.

Diverse factors can affect our 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 can be designed for.

Meanwhile, glare is the result of discomfort caused by excessive brightness. As it is the case for daylight, we can also design building spaces to avoid it.

Starting with green design strategies and then implementing smart technologies 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 a building will greatly affect the way light enters the building. In addition, accurately placing and sizing windows and skylights will define the daylight availability of your spaces and enhance the visual comfort performance of your indoor environment.

As glare is concerned, you will want to avoid direct or reflected sunlight to your eyesight. As it is the case for windows, by correctly orienting and sizing shading devices, you can deflect direct light rays and drastically reduce the glare effect while bringing in the right amount of light needed for our activities.

A good daylighting design relies as much as possible on natural light integration while avoiding glare issues.

Green Design Metrics and Bioclimatic Architecture, learn more with The Green Design Brief here

Smart technology enhance visual comfort

The optimization of visual comfort can be pushed further by incorporating technology on top of the green design foundations.

By using smart devices or IOT(the Internet of Things), the daylight intensity and glare issues can be managed autonomously in our buildings.

Lucibel has developed a brilliant technology, Cronos, which reproduces artificially the same light intensity as daylight, therefore providing the same benefits as daylight itself.

To counter glaring issues, technologies such as FlipFlic uses embedded sensors which, depending on the light intensity, will adjust blinds accordingly and automatically. On top of that, they can be powered by solar energy therefore reducing energy demands for the building.

The combination of green design strategies and smart technologies does not only create but enhance the overall visual comfort performance of buildings.

Follow us to discover other performance indicators, such as acoustic comfort, in the coming month!

This article is part of a series of four articles on design metrics for human well-being, health and performance. Find out which other metrics contribute to a positive human experience in indoor environments.

Next Metric > Design Metric # 2 - Acoustics

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