Text: Arne Hülsmann, Peter Andres beratende Ingenieure, Hamburg

16. Oct 2015

With our towns and cities becoming increasingly denser,
should we not be reconsidering the role and value of integrative lighting design in planning processes?

Urban space is becoming more densely populated and political decisions related to climate change are affecting energy issues at the start of the planning phase. It is becoming increasingly important that daylight design receives sufficient attention. To prevent daylight being “taken hostage” by a misguided energy debate, we need to re-think the way our buildings are designed. This can only happen if daylight is perceived as a quality factor offering added value.

Sufficient access to daylight, as an integral part of healthy, sustainable architecture, is subject to general geographical, cultural, social and economic conditions. While the geographical limitations of the availability of daylight are determined by laws of nature and only change gradually due to long-term effects such as climate change, the other parameters are substantially more flexible [1]. The cultural aspect of built architecture, which also has a bearing on sociological issues, is always a statement to the environment. And building projects are subject to the respective client’s economic situation. In times when urban space is becoming more densely populated it is unavoidable that the space around a domestic dwelling – an expansive garden or a gravelled drive – falls victim to economic issues. And with the price of land rising, houses are being forced to close ranks, in the majority of cases without the architecture having been adapted to address the changing requirements. The amount of living space per person, or the need for more space, is also growing [2]. At the same time, there is a growing awareness of the positive aspects of daylight. While the effects of daylight are health-related, daylight design is a significant cost factor. To argue that better daylight conditions can enhance learning by up to 20 per cent, or reduce the frequency of errors to the same degree, is likely to be more well received (in the case of investment buildings) than maintaining that staff, occupants of private homes (tenants), customers or users will feel better or more motivated – although both aspects are interconnected [4]. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 99



[1] IB Andres mit den Daten des Deutschen Seewetterdienst Hamburg ‘Vergleich von Tageslichtverfügbarkeiten 1967 bis 1980 und 2000 bis 2010’.

[2] Hegger M., Fafflok C., Hegger J., Passig I. (2013) AktivHaus – Das Grundlagenwerk

[3] Hershong Mahone Group, H. M. (1999). Daylighting in Schools.

[4] Hellinga Hesta, (2013) TU Delft, Daylight and View, The influence of windows on the visual quality of indoor spaces

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