The sun has been the main source of light and heat on our planet for billions of years. Man has, through evolution, become to depend on daylight and sun light. It is vital for his health and survival. The anvient Greeks and Romans worshipped the sun as a goddess, fully aware of its importance.
The beauty, but also the challenge to the architect and engineer, comes with the fluctuations in light levels, colours and the direction of the natural light. This has in modern days led to a disrespect, culminating in the 60s and 70s hermetically sealed office blocks that were fully air conditioned and artificially lit. It was no wonder deseases such as the sick building syndrom and depression affected more and more people.
Increasingly, man is turning back and tries to re-discover the art and science of daylighting which our ancestors knew intuitively. The design challenge still remains. Daylighting is not just about light. Successful daylighting design will involve consideration of heat gains, glare, light levels and uniformity and solar penetration.
A good daylighting sceme will not only improve the productivity of the work force, but also result in an overall lower energy consumption and even the peak demand. Considering that lighting accounts for about 20-25% of the total energy consumption and even 30-40% in the commercial sector, it is easy to understand the huge potential daylighting has on the reduction of CO2 and pollutants.