The Effectiveness of Light Shelf in Tropical Urban Context

Open access


Light shelf was developed to create uniform indoor illuminance. However, in hot climates the unshaded clerestory above the shelf transmits high solar heat gain. In dense urban context, these advantages and disadvantages might vary regarding the context and position of the fenestration. This study employed an integrated energy simulation software to investigate the effectiveness of light shelf application in a tropical urban context in terms of building energy consumption. Radiance and EnergyPlus based simulations performed the effects of urban canyon aspect ratio and external surface albedo on the daylighting performances, space cooling load, as well as the lighting energy consumption of the building equipped with lightshelves in 2 humid tropical cities. Comparison of the energy performances of 3 fenestration systems, i.e. fenestration without any shading device, with overhangs, and with light shelves, yielded some recommendations concerning the best application of light shelf on the certain floor levels and aspect ratio of the urban context.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • [1] International Energy Agency. Energy Conservation in Building Community Systems (IEA-ECBCS). Annex 29/Solar Heating and Cooling Programmes Task 21 2010.

  • [2] Wong N. H. Istiadji A. D. Effect of external shading devices on daylighting penetration in residential buildings. Lighting Research and Technology 2004:36(4):317–330. doi:10.1191/1365782804li126oa

  • [3] Binarti F. Lightshelf for improving indoor horizontal illuminance distribution. Teknik 2005:12(1):1–10.

  • [4] Lim Y. W. Heng C. Y. S. Dynamic Internal Light Shelf for Tropical Daylighting in High-rise Office Buildings. Building and Environment 2016:106:155–166. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2016.06.030

  • [5] Franco I. M. Efficacy of light shelves: passive dynamic and automatic devices related to light and thermal behavior. Presented at Thermal Performance of Exterior Envelopes of Whole Buildings X 2007

  • [6] Floyd D. B. Parker D. S. Daylighting: measuring the performance of light shelves and occupant controlled blinds on a dimmed lighting system. Presented at 11th Symposium on Improving Building Systems in Hot and Humid Climates Fort Worth USA 1998.

  • [7] Ho M. C. Chiang C. M. Chou P. C. Chang K. F. Lee C. Y. Optimal sun-shading design for enhanced daylight illumination of subtropical classrooms. Energy and Buildings 2008:40:1844–1855. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2008.04.012

  • [8] Aboushi B. K. The Effect of Adaptive Shading and the Selective Reflective Light Shelves on Office Building Energy Efficiency and Daylight Performance in Hot Arid Regions. Master thesis the University of Arizona 2013.

  • [9] Binarti F. Energy-Efficient Window for Classroom in Warm Tropical Area. Presented at 11th IBPSA Conference Glasgow Scotland 2009.

  • [10] Shafaghat A. Manteghi G. Keyvanfar A. Bin Lamit H. Saito K. Ossen D.H. Street Geometry Factors Influence Urban Microclimate in Tropical Coastal Cities: A Review. Environmental and Climate Technologies 2016:17:61–75. doi:10.1515/rtuect-2016-0006

  • [11] Kesten D. Kereci A. Strzalka A. Eicker U. A method to quantify the energy performance in urban quarters. Indoor Air Quality Ventilation 2012:18(1–2):100–111. doi: 10.1080/10789669.2011.583307

  • [12] Akbari H. Menon S. Rosenfeld A. Global cooling increasing world-wide urban albedo to offset CO2. Climate Change 2009:95(3–4). doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9515-9

  • [13] Tein B. Reynolds J. S. Grondzik W. T. Kwok A. G. Mechanical Electrical and Equipment for Buildings. New York; John Wiley 2009.

  • [14] Joarder A. R. Ahmed Z. N. Price A. Mourshed M. A Simulation assessment of the height of light shelves to enhance daylighting quality in tropical office buildings under overcast sky conditions in Dhaka Bangladesh. Presented at 11th IBPSA Conference Glasgow Scotland 2009.

  • [15] University of Illinois and Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkelay National Laboratory. EnergyPlus Engineering Reference 2013.

  • [16] Henninger R. H. Witte M. J. EnergyPlus testing with building thermal envelope and fabric load test from ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 140-2011. Washington DC: 2011.

  • [17] Manz H. Loutzenhiser P. Frank T. Strachan P. A. Bundi R. Maxwell G. Series of experiments for empirical validation of solar gain modeling in building energy simulation codes – experimental setup test cell characterization specifications and uncertainty analysis. Building and Environment 2004:41:1784–1797. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2005.07.020

  • [18] Loutzenhiser P. G. Manz H. Carl S. Simmler H. Maxwell G. M. Empirical validations of solar gain models for a glazing unit with exterior and interior blind assemblies. Energy and Buildings 2008:40:330–340. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.02.034

  • [19] Hachem C. Athienitis A. Fazio P. Parametric investigation of geometric form effects on solar potential of housing units. Solar Energy 2011:85:1864–1877. doi:10.1016/j.solener.2011.04.027

  • [20] Goia F. Search for the optimal window-to-wall ratio in office buildings in different European climates and the implications on total energy saving potential. Solar Energy 2016:132:467–492. doi:10.1016/j.solener.2016.03.031

  • [21] Loutzenhiser P. G. Manz H. Felsmann C. Strachan P. A. Frank T. Maxwell G. M. Empirical validation of models to compute solar irradiance on inclined surfaces for building energy simulation. Solar Energy 2007:81:254–267. doi:10.1016/j.solener.2006.03.009

  • [22] Carroll W. L. Hitchcock R. J. DELight2 Daylighting Analysis in EnergyPlus Integration and Preliminary User Results. Presented at Ninth International IBPSA Conference Montréal Canada 2005.

  • [23] Huang Y. Niu J. Chung T. Comprehensive analysis on thermal and daylighting performance of glazing and shading designs on office building envelope in cooling-dominant climates. Applied Energy 2014:134:215–228. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.07.100

  • [24] McNeil A. Lee E. S. A validation of the Radiance threephase simulation method for modeling annual daylight performance of optically complex fenestration systems. Building Performance Simulation 2012:1–14. doi:10.1080/19401493.2012.671852

  • [25] Reinhart C. F Andersen M. Development and validation of a Radiance model for a translucent panel. Energy and Buildings 2006:38(7):890–904. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2006.03.006

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 1.67

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.21
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.86

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 253 174 5
PDF Downloads 152 113 4