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Unit outline_

DESC9169: Daylight in Buildings

Semester 2, 2023 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Daylight can be used in buildings to reduce the energy spent on electric lighting and create aesthetically appealing interiors. Design decisions that affect the success of daylighting in a building span every phase of the design process, from site selection to the application of interior finishes. This unit discusses the role of daylight in indoor illuminated environments. Calculations to predict the quantity and distribution of daylight in spaces and predict the effects of shading devices are covered. Students learn about the local and global variables that influence daylight availability, recognize the challenges and opportunities with daylight in interior spaces, and the appropriate use of daylighting technologies. Modelling tools (Radiance based) will be used in order to assess the efficacy of selected daylight strategies.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ozgur Gocer,
Lecturer(s) Ozgur Gocer,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Daylight modelling of a parametric facade
65% Formal exam period
Due date: 18 Nov 2023 at 23:59
20 pages in A3 format
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Assignment group assignment Analysis of different indoor spaces
35% Week 08
Due date: 22 Sep 2023 at 23:59
15 pages in A3 format
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO6 LO7 LO1 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Analysis of different indoor spaces: Each group (generally composed of 4/5 students) will select and analyze 2 spaces and perform physical measurements of daylight metrics during a selected week.

Daylight modeling of a parametric facade: Students will work individually on daylight modelling of selected spaces. Each student will analyse one of the two spaces monitored and propose solutions (with the use of Radiance&Grasshopper) to improve daylight performance of that space through designing a parametric façade and using other daylight systems and technologies.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes
assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical
analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes
assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis,
synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the
learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the
learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Penalties will be applied as per university regulations, there will be a 5% penalty per day for late submission.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 04 • Introduction to the Unit of Study / The role of daylight in architecture • Daylight principles • Daylight in Buildings: General Concepts and Metrics Identify light ratios Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Introduction to the Assignment 1 Seminar (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Field measurement and qualitative description Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 • Daylight Prediction, various models and methods Climate and context: models of sky • How the eye sees & Vision and Perception comfort • Sunlight and annual daylight methods Lecture (3 hr) LO3 LO5
Daylight Factor Calculation exercise Seminar (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Creating geometry in Rhino Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 08 • Facade Design in general • Shading device design • Radiance engine and daylight modeling Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Case studies: Daylighting performance of spaces Seminar (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
DF calculation with RADIANCE modeling Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 10 Glare and reflectivity Parametric Design of facades Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Feedback on Assignment 1 & Introduction to Assignment 2 Seminar (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Adapting grasshopper scripts Tutorial (3 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 13 • Urban Planning and daylight issues, reflectivity, rights to light • Daylight & Health/Non-visual impacts of daylighting • Integration of daylighting and artificial lighting systems Lecture (3 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7
Closure to the unit and Q@A session for Assignment 2 related issues Seminar (1 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7
Project development and final session to get feedback on assignment Tutorial (3 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Online sources: E-books, annex, journals etc.

[1] N. Baker, K. Steemers (2013), Daylight Design of Buildings. James & James.

[2] M. Fontoynont (2103). Daylight performance of Buildings. James & James.

[3] P. Tregenza, M. Wilson (2011), Daylighting: architecture and lighting design. Routledge.

[4] Muneer, T. (Tariq) et al. Solar Radiation and Daylight Models. 2nd ed. Amsterdam ;: Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann, 2004. Print.

[5] Boubekri, Mohamed. Daylighting Design : Planning Strategies and Best Practice Solutions . Boston: Birkhäuser, 2014. Print.

[6] Daylight in buildings, ECBCS Annex 29/SHC Task 21

[7] P. Raftery, M. Keane, A. Costa (2011). Calibrating whole building energy models: Detailed case study using hourly measured data. Energy and Buildings 43:3666--3679.

[8] Ruck, N., Aschehoug, Ø., Aydinli, S., Christoffersen, J., Courret, G., Edmonds, I., ... & Michel, L. (2000). Daylight in Buildings-A source book on daylighting systems and components. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 9910-47493.

[9] Baker, Nick V., A. Fanchiotti, and K. Steemers. Daylighting in Architecture : A European Reference Book . First edition. Boca Raton, FL: Routledge, 2016. Print.

[10] Kittler, Richard., Miroslav. Kocifaj, and Stanislav. Darula. Daylight Science and Daylighting Technology. New York, NY: Springer, 2012. Print.



[11] M.R. Atif, J.A. Love, P. Littlefair (1997). Daylighting Monitoring Protocols & Procedures for Buildings. NRC CNRC

[12] Bell, James, and William Burt. Designing Buildings for Daylight . London: Construction Research Communications, 1995. Print. SciTech Library, General 720.472 36


Other suggested readings are:

{13] Heschong, L., Wright, R. L., & Okura, S. (2002). Daylighting impacts on human performance in school. Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society, 31(2), 101--114. A.D.

[14] Galasiu, C.F. Reinhart (2008). Current daylighting design practice: a survey. Building Research and Information, 36, 159--174. P.

[15] Ihm, A. Nemri, M. Krarti (2009). Estimation of lighting energy savings from daylighting. Building and Environment, 44, 509--514.

[16] R. Sullivan, E.S. Lee, S. Selkowitz (1992). A method for optimizing solar control and daylighting performance in commercial office buildings. ASHRAE/SOE/BTECC Conference “Thermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Buildings V”.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. use and understand the terminology associated with daylighting
  • LO2. identify the determinant of daylight availability in buildings
  • LO3. calculate daylight metrics
  • LO4. design structures to manipulate daylight in buildings
  • LO5. critically evaluate daylight strategies through the use of specialist software
  • LO6. share knowledge with colleagues and effectively collaborate in achieving common goals
  • LO7. critically and synthetically analyse the issues, and efficaciously communicate technical information in written, oral and visual form.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Unit structure (adjustments to lecture hours and tutorials made) has been changed. Assignment questions were revised.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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