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Climate-Based Daylight Modelling for compliance verification: Benchmarking multiple state-of-the-art methods

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journal contribution
posted on 13.05.2019 by Eleonora Brembilla, John Mardaljevic
Climate-Based Daylight Modelling (CBDM) gives designers the possibility to evaluate complex, long-term luminous environment dynamics. This complexity can be challenging to simulate, and even more challenging to communicate effectively through the use of performance metrics. A multiplicity of CBDM techniques and metrics has been developed over the last two decades, but these were rarely assessed against each other. This paper reviews four state-of-the-art techniques based on the Radiance raytracing engine and systematically compares them against a benchmark CBDM method. Four classroom spaces are used to carry out an inter-model comparison between performance metrics commonly used for compliance verification obtained from all analysed techniques. Additional sensitivity analyses assessed how changes in input variables influence such metrics. Results from the inter-model comparison showed that the representation of direct sunlight is markedly different between the various CBDM techniques, and that metrics based on horizontal direct sunlight are very sensitive to the choice of simulation method. This led to differences in predicted Annual Sunlight Exposure up to 39% points. Metrics that consider both direct and inter-reflected light were found to be more robust, with variations from benchmark results within 15%. The analysis of the input variables showed that sensor grid spacing and time-step interpolation do not significantly affect any of these metrics. Changes in orientation and sky discretisation scheme had different effects depending on the metric and technique considered. The need for authoritative benchmarking systems when introducing new performance metrics for compliance verification or new simulation methods is also discussed.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and by Arup Lighting UKMEA Group, under the EPSRC CASE Award scheme (Grant EP/K504476/1).



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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Building and Environment






BREMBILLA, E. and MARDALJEVIC, J., 2019. Climate-Based Daylight Modelling for compliance verification: Benchmarking multiple state-of-the-art methods. Building and Environment, 158, pp.151-164.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

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This is an Open Access article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.