What is visual comfort in buildings?

One of the mostimportant performance indicators for our indoor environment is visual comfort.It is a result of a variety of factors, including the quantity and quality ofnatural and artificial illumination sources, as well as our access to views ofthe outside world. It is crucial for occupant health, physical capabilities,memory, and attention. In addition to reducing the amount of electricity neededfor artificial lighting, daytime hours can also have an impact on heating andcooling loads.


Artificial lighting,for instance, can make up to 45% of the overall electricity load in officebuildings. One of the simplest and least expensive energy efficiency solutionsto undertake is daylighting because it is the energy-saving method with thequickest payback period. Making the most of natural light is therefore vital toachieving the best potential savings in resources and energy. Residents canobtain their degree of comfort, whatever it may be if they can modify the lightto suit their needs.


To achieve aparticular natural harmony inside a space, visual comfort in office buildingstypically combines concerns regarding material choice, glare, shadow, and colorof electrical light within the workplace environment at various times of theday. Promote best practices in visual performance and comfort by making surethat occupant controls, artificial lighting, and natural light are all takeninto account. Two of the most significant elements that can impair visualcomfort are those related to glare and natural light. For this purpose, acomparison of the traits and consequences of the various visual comfort indicesshould be used to make a decision.


Intelligenttechnologies and eco-design techniques work together to create buildings thatare more visually comfortable overall. Despite this, research on visual comfortis still in its infancy, and new measurements are being offered practicallydaily. In actuality, there are several variations on what constitutes visualcomfort and how it should be measured. The light is less evident but just asimportant in creating a sensation of well-being as cozy and ergonomic rooms.


Many people who designbiophilic spaces strive to maximize access to natural light, not only as a wayto promote a connection with nature but also for their well-being. designbenefits cognitive performance and overall productivity. Knowing how importantgood visual comfort can be for productivity and concentration in officebuildings. For the visual comfort of indoor environments, natural lighting andhow it should be complemented by artificial lighting are crucialconsiderations. When constructing places for the best visual comfort, therequired interaction between this natural light and artificial light must betaken into consideration.


There is no unifiedconsensus on what constitutes comfort because the definition of visual comfortis still under development.


The parameters used todetermine visual comfort typically include the amount of light present in thespace, the harmony of contrasts, the "temperature" of the colors, andwhether or not there is glare.


There are numerousways to define visual comfort and what should be included in measurements ofit.


Our notion of visualcomfort at Saint-Gobain is based on what we consider to be the ideal blend ofelements that will maximize comfort and well-being. The amount and quality oflight entering a building, the quality and accessibility of views from insidethe building, and the quality of the surrounding area are all included in this.


Despite this, theresearch on visual comfort is still in its infancy, and new measurements arebeing offered practically daily.


Light has a variety ofproperties and can be measured in a variety of ways. The science of measuringvisible light in terms of how bright it appears to human vision is calledphotometry. Radiometry is the measurement of electromagnetic radiation.


Depending on thediscipline chosen to study light, different properties and measurement toolswill be used.


When it comes tophotometry, the power of a light source, such as a lightbulb, is oftenquantified in terms of the intensity of the flux (in lumens).


Illuminance, or theamount of light that a surface receives, is another way to measure light. Itserves as a gauge for how much light a surface receives. The brightness of asurface can also be determined by how much light travels through a solid anglefrom the surface and reaches a camera (or, for example, the human eye).


In radiometry, lightcan also be measured using its wavelengths and any other electromagneticwave-specific features.


There isn't a singleconsensus on what constitutes comfort because the definition of visual comfortis still being developed and isn't yet fixed in stone. Unfortunately, it's notthat straightforward, even though organizations like the CIE (InternationalCommittee of Lighting) and lighting and daylighting experts routinely debateit.


Aside from the factthat the concept of visual comfort is always changing, certain things are alsosubjective or depend on a variety of variables.


The parameters andmaximum light intensity that a human eye can withstand without being harmeddepend on many factors, including the time of exposure, the nature of thelight, the color of the user's eye, and their age.


Even moreindividualized factors of visual comfort include perspectives and thetemperature of the colors. It is impossible to provide an ideal colortemperature because various people will feel and perceive it differently. Takecolor temperature as an example. Preferences are frequently cultural. They'llalso want to use the light to convey various moods and stories.


Similarly, theexterior view. Although it's safe to assume that most people prefer a window tothe outside world to a room without one, not everyone will have the same ideaof what constitutes a "good view."

There are recommendedamounts of light or illumination in a structure depending on the task performedand the type of building taken into consideration, even if visual comfort ishighly subjective. It's crucial to remember that these levels were initiallyestablished by ergonomists and are the absolute minimum needed to assureappropriate lighting for vision. As a result, they guarantee that one can seewithout exerting extra effort, but they are not 'comfort' levels.

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