Spotlight on Daylighting

May/June 2006
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2006
        Daylighting systems, which use natural lighting to supplement electric lighting, have the potential to cut energy use, reduce peak demand, and create a more desirable indoor environment, yet these systems often fail to live up to their potential (see “New Designs in Active Daylighting,” HE Jan/Feb ’06, p. 40). One reason they fail is that they are sensitive to photosensor placement and performance, but there have been no easy-to-use tools to help designers predict performance and determine optimum sensor positioning.         The Sensor Placement and Orientation Tool (SPOT) is a free software package that helps designers establish correct photosensor placement relative to a proposed daylighting and electric lighting design (see Figure 1). It also analyzes and predicts overall system performance prior to field installation and commissioning. Features and Benefits         Anyone who can use Microsoft Excel can use SPOT.The user interface is an Excel worksheet, while most of the calculations made, using a sophisticated daylighting software program known as Radiance, are invisible to the user. Based on user input, the tool calculates nighttime illumination levels and the range of daylight contribution throughout ...

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