The tool is the fruit of a three-year joint project, just concluding, of the Lighting Group at Canadas Institute for Research in Construction and the Buildings Group at Natural Resources Canada. Their goal was to create a realistic energy savings predictor for office building design and make it available to a wide audience.
Developers say the tool provides a fast and reliable measure of the daylight available in peripheral offices. It then predicts the relative lighting energy savings that could be gained by using automated lighting and window blind controls, as opposed to standard on/off switches and manually managed blinds. Various geographic locations, building geometries and lighting schemes can be specified when using the tool.
Results are based upon a pre-calculated database of actual buildings in many locations, as well as field studies of occupant behavior controlling devices.
Working off the database cuts simulation time for a single office from several hours to two to three minutes, assuming moderate traffic on the server and a fast internet connection. An enhancement due by the end of April will add classrooms to the types of spaces Lightswitch models, says Christoph Reinhart, project manager. Lightswitch Wizard can be put to work at http://buildwiz.com.ightswitch Wizard is a free, Web-based analysis tool that supports daylighting-related, early-stage design decisions for commercial buildings.