Diagram: Spatial Daylight Autonomy

Spatial Daylight Autonomy

Spatial daylight autonomy or sDA tells you if there is enough daylight.

The following was posted on the Arch Lighting website

Spatial Daylight Autonomy (sDA) examines whether a space receives enough daylight during standard operating hours (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) on an annual basis using hourly illuminance grids on the horizontal work plane. In lieu of collecting a year’s worth of data in the field, sDA is calculated virtually through computational simulation with precise parameters. It references a local climate file—such as an EnergyPlus data file available from the U.S. Department of Energy—to run hourly illuminance maps in the lighting software packages, and incorporates an algorithm to approximate manual operation of window blinds.

Floor areas, or grid points, in the building model that achieve 300 lux for at least half of the analysis hours count as meeting the daylighting threshold. As a result, sDA values can range from zero to 100 percent of the floor area in question. An sDA value of 75 percent indicates a space in which daylighting is “preferred” by occupants; that is, occupants would be able to work comfortably there without t   he use of any electric lights, and find the daylight levels to be sufficient. An sDA value between 55 percent and 74 percent indicates a space in which daylighting is “nominally accepted” by occupants. Lighting designers, therefore, should aim to achieve sDA values of 75 percent or higher in regularly occupied spaces, such as an open-plan office or classroom, and at least 55 percent in areas where some daylight is important.



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