Daylighting Design Effectiveness and Occupant Visual Satisfaction

Cornell Weill Hall Visual Environment Study: Daylighting Design Effectiveness and Occupant Visual Satisfaction

This study looked into the impact of daylighting design features of an academic laboratory building on the visual environment quality of its interior space, and on its occupants’ comfort, satisfaction, and perceived performance, to examine the effectiveness of the daylighting design and systems integration.

The goal of this study is to:

(1) evaluate the visual environment quality of this laboratory building, which features daylighting design;

(2) understand occupant satisfaction and the perceived support from the building’s visual environment for work performance in laboratory settings;

(3) evaluate the effectiveness of the daylighting design strategies, systems integration, and building operation strategies for visual comfort and energy performance;

(4) identify solutions to further improve the visual environment of the Weill Hall and generate guidelines for effective daylighting design for laboratories buildings; and

(5) develop and test a tool-kit for visual environment quality and lighting systems integration evaluation.

The Weill Life Sciences Building was chosen for this in-depth post-occupancy daylighting study for several reasons:

• Existing daylight studies often focus on offices, school buildings, and healthcare facilities. There is a lack of research on the visual environment of the laboratory setting, which is a common building type on university and research campuses with intensive energy consumption, high indoor environment quality requirements, and other unique challenges due to a more technical nature of work in the building.

• The building of study, designed by Richard Meier, is the first LEED-Gold building on Cornell campus. Daylighting design is a major architectural feature. An evaluation of the building performance and the effectiveness of the design strategies will create valuable knowledge and lessons to directly inform the design of campus buildings in the future.

• The building is serving as a point of convergence of multi-disciplinary research, and an intellectual and operational magnet for faculty, students, visitors, and alumni. Therefore, supporting the performance of the occupants is a key requirement for the building indoor environment, including the visual environment.

Hua, Y, Oswald, A., and Yang, X. (2011). Effectiveness of daylighting design and occupant visual satisfaction in a LEED Gold laboratory building. Building and Environment. Vol.46. 54-64.