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Preconstruction daylighting analysis services

Leonard Kersch is an internationally recognized expert on daylighting analysis. As an optical physicist from the University of Michigan, he worked for 10 years doing applied holographic research. Since 1974 he has consulted in preconstruction daylighting analysis and horticultural lighting specification for architects, landscape architects and developers on major atrium, mall, hotel, and conservatory projects.

Why daylighting analysis is needed

Because adequate lighting is the single most important determinant of success with interior landscaping, lighting analysis should always precede plant material selection and interior landscape design. With daylighting levels established, the need for supplemental lighting can be determined, and then an environmentally appropriate planting design can be developed.

Benefits for the architect

Understanding the lighting parameters at the conceptual stage of the design process can help the Architect determine the overall organization of the space, just as a site analysis influences the orientation of a building on an exterior site. In addition, preconstruction daylighting analysis allows the Architect to strike the proper balance between lighting for plant growth and the energy restraints of the HVAC system. If analysis shows too little or too much light, the Architect can vary the number or size of the skylights, and/or the transmission or type of glazing.

Benefits for the landscape architect

Preconstruction daylighting analysis is the key to sustainable design. It accurately identifies all lighting micro-environments so that the interior landscape design developed by the Landscape Architect can be environmentally appropriate to a precise degree.

Daylighting analysis methodology

Computer modeling determines the daylighting distribution at any point in the space and it identifies the solar sweeps as they change with the time of day and the season. Direct and indirect components of light are analyzed using information about the following:

  • the size and location of the skylights and vertical glazing, 
  • the transmission of the glass, 
  • surface reflections, 
  • the sky brightness conditions for the city where the project is located, and 
  • the time of the year. 

The methodology used to do the analysis is the radiation flux transfer method, recognized by lighting professionals as the most accurate of the various daylighting analysis techniques. Note that this method is NOT an averaging technique, which can provide highly misleading and inaccurate information for a given point in the space.