The amount of natural light that enters your building doesn’t stop at the windows. You may save money on artificial lighting and give your building’s residents the health benefits of daylighting by installing simple horizontal surfaces called Light Shelves. Is a light shelf a good fit for your establishment?
What is a Light Shelf?
Typically, “light shelves” refer to horizontal surfaces installed in a building. By dividing the viewable area of windows from the piece that lets in additional natural light, these internal shelves bounce light up into the ceiling and reflect it down into the floorplate.
There are, however, two other options. In addition to reducing glare, improving uniformity, and reducing solar heat gain, the exterior sun also blinds direct daylight toward the building’s interior ceiling, making them a type of light shelf. Baffling is a light shelf commonly found in atriums and other areas where there is a lot of skylight or roof monitor.
Most often, these are composed of cloth, and their purpose is to diffuse light and minimize glare. In addition to maximizing daylight, interior light shelves can also reduce glare and shadowing for persons seated right next to a window.
Classrooms, offices, and higher education facilities are common locations for daylighting with these shelves. Both low- and high-rise buildings can benefit from their services.
Some Important Tips
If the vertical glass above it is the same height as the light shelf, it will bounce light around two and a half times as far as that height will allow. According to Lehman, if you have a light shelf with 2 feet of vertical glazing above it when it is erected, you may expect it to bounce light 5 feet into the floor plate.
Project teams must look at daylighting and the usage of light shelving holistically when considering design alternatives. When it comes to how much light is reflected or absorbed, “the hue of the area has an important role,” says Lehman. When it comes to light and dark, dark hues absorb light while light colors reflect it down into a room’s floor.
Glazing size is important; higher glazing better reflects light into the area. As the glass’s Visual Transmittance Value tells us how much pure daylight can enter through the window, it’s best to choose a glass type that lets light in but keeps heat out.”
With the use of daylight sensors, artificial lighting can be reduced by 40% to 50% because the lighting system generates less heat, resulting in extra energy savings. To maximize energy savings from light shelves (or any other energy-efficient solution, for that matter), holistic design concepts must be included in the overall design of the building.
The ratio of windows to walls and the size and location of windows are critical considerations if you want to position these shelves properly. The location of this could be either inside or outside, depending on the weather and the building’s orientation to the sun. Consider the building’s orientation and the positions of daylighting sensors because the window shades, soffits, light shelves, locations of sprinkler heads, and light fixtures can interfere with the sensing daylight. Keeping people happy is a top priority, which means providing them with the right lighting and temperature.
The advantages and disadvantages of light shelves
- Light shelves can be used in a variety of ways:
- Enhance the quality of light.
- To cut back on energy use, minimize the amount of artificial lighting you use.
- Use less electricity.
- Add value to the workplace by making it more pleasant and productive for employees.
- Elevate the design’s aesthetic value
The following are some of the disadvantages or limitations of light shelves:
- They do well in temperate areas rather than hot or dry ones.
- Sprinkler systems can be hampered by their presence.
- They may necessitate a larger ceiling-to-floor ratio.
- Windows must be incorporated into their design.
- Maintainability suffers as a result.
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