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Daylighting and BIM: four tips

BIM office lighting

Building information modeling (BIM) is an important aspect of building development, from design to construction. This process of creating three-dimensional (3D) intelligent models has been a mainstay across many industries for decades. Now, more than ever, it is seen as a vital rather than an optional tool.

Daylighting analysis is one of many facets of BIM. Daylighting helps designers understand and measure the amount of natural light in a building project and coordinate it with internal lighting fixtures. It answers questions such as:

  • How can natural light from windows, glazed openings and skylights help reduce the need for artificial lighting?
  • Is there enough light for common tasks, or are additional lighting fixtures needed?
  • Is the distribution of light ideal, or is it causing glare?
  • Is the light aesthetically pleasing?

Rosalind Pumphrey, BIM manager for Eaton’s lighting division, shared four quick tips for daylighting:

  • Take advantage of modern technologies. At one time, designers did all of this by hand. But the technology available today substantially reduces the amount of work and time needed. Plus, computer simulations are more reliable, in most cases, because they remove the element of human error.
  • Know what you want to achieve with your model. Develop clear goals before getting started. This will determine the BIM platform, appropriate software package, and types of analyses and data that will be needed.
  • Pay close attention to the building’s orientation and the time of day. These factors can have a huge influence on your lighting design.
  • Remember, the daylight you want comes from the sky – not the sun directly. Direct sunlight has a tendency to cause glare.

Today’s daylighting tools cover every detail, even down to the glazing on the windows. Daylighting allows designers to make better and more competent decisions about lighting fixtures, ballasts and controls – resulting in more comfortable, beautiful, energy-efficient spaces.

The Lighting reSource