Sun control significantly impacts the interior light and climate of a building. It blocks out annoying sun rays and keeps the interior temperature at appropriate levels the whole year round. In order to display the effects of sun control on indoor spaces, Hunter Douglas has developed a Light & Energy software tool that provides exact measurements of visual comfort and climate control. Sun control specialist Sander Teunissen, product manager New Products at Hunter Douglas, was involved in the development of this new instrument. He says the Light & Energy Tool is a flexible system: “You can change various parameters within the program, depending on your climate and visual comfort needs for each season. It uses a 3D model to show what the shadow patterns in a room will look like when the sun’s altitude is high or low, in winter and in summer.”
The new version of the Light & Energy Tool bases its output on information entered by the user, such as room dimensions, building envelope material, window sizes and glass types or building position. With the resulting data, four different scenarios can be outlined on the basis of different kinds of sun control, each one indicating which comfort and energy effects a change will produce in the room. The user can compare scenarios and calculate indoor temperatures and how the light falls in a room under different sun control conditions. This means the energy capacity required to heat or cool a room can also be calculated. The tool therefore quickly and easily highlights poor choices, such as an overly transparent and light-weight roller blind that lets in too much light for the user to be able to work comfortably on a computer.
Teunissen explains that the tool will tell you what to expect from a given type of sun control. “Basically, you can take two different approaches with the Light & Energy tool. You can use it to chart the effects a certain type of sun control will have on your interior. But you can also use it to find out what kind of sun control you will need to create a certain effect”, he says. “It is a practical instrument for architects who want to show what a building project interior will look like with different types of interior and exterior sun control, either horizontal or vertical.” Also, the tool shows how much energy can be saved on air conditioning, amongst other things, “simply because exterior sun control blocks out a lot of heat from the sun, which cuts back the need for indoor cooling”, explains Teunissen.
The data produced by the Light & Energy Tool for a given building are presented in a report in PDF-format. The Hunter
Douglas Light & Energy Tool can be downloaded free of charge at http://tools.hde.nl/energytool2/tool.html.