LRC Launches Daylighting Dashboard

LRC Researchers Propose New Metric to Help Architects and Green Builders Take Advantage of Daylighting

Troy, N. Y. -  Researchers at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have proposed a new metric to help architects and builders more easily take advantage of the benefits of daylighting, from significant energy savings to the positive impact of light on health, when designing the built environment. This new metric—the daylighting dashboard—provides an early indication of a design’s potential to meet eight design goals that contribute to the successful use of daylighting.

The proposed metrics were recently published in a paper titled, “Conceptual Design Metrics for Daylighting” in the journal Lighting Research & Technology. The project was led by Russ Leslie, associate director and professor at the Lighting Research Center, along with Leora Radetsky, lead research specialist; Mariana Figueiro, professor and Light and Health program director; Aaron Smith, former research specialist; and Lisa Yue, former graduate student. The project was sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The development of daylighting metrics has been the subject of considerable effort and debate, but no widely accepted metric has emerged to help recognize well-daylit buildings. Although simulation software exists to assist designers in daylight analysis, these programs are often overly complex and involve a high level of expertise. On the other hand, rule-of-thumb approaches that are often used to aid in the decision-making process are based on overly simplified assumptions.

Leslie and colleagues proposed the daylighting dashboard, a visual representation of a design’s potential to meet eight design goals: average illuminance, coverage, diffuse daylight, daylight autonomy, circadian stimulus, glazing area, view, and solar heat gain. “We propose eight minimum components and a simple way to estimate performance at the very beginning of building design,” said Leslie. “The daylighting dashboard allows for flexibility in precision, calculation software, or bracketing values for the eight goals, which can be prioritized in the context of individual projects, rating systems, or code requirements.” The daylighting dashboard is also the first integrative approach that includes a validated circadian stimulus model, taking into consideration photobiological benefits of daylighting, such as daytime alertness and more restful sleep at night.

To read the full news release and view an example of the daylighting dashboard, visit