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ASSESSMENT OF DAYLIGHT IN RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE

STUDY OF APARTMENTS IN CHENNAI


SHIVANI. B, SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING, ANNA UNIVERSITY, INDIA.
RUDRA. M, SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING, ANNA UNIVERSITY, INDIA.
THARINI. S, SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING, ANNA UNIVERSITY, INDIA.

KEYWORDS: Daylighting, Chennai, Apartment building, Illuminance, Illuminance meter, Illumination


level, Lighting, Lighting controls

ABSTRACT :
In a day, the light comprises of all the direct and indirect sunlight which consists of diffused sky
radiation and direct sunlight reflected by the buildings and landforms. Within an interior space, daylight is
enormously affected by the fenestration of that building.
Effective daylighting improves the comfort of a user, his health and satisfaction by reducing the
lighting and cooling loads. Despite use of glass, using daylight in modern building can be challenging. Glare
and uneven light distribution can cause discomfort for the user and pose challenges to effectively light the
spaces. Most frequently, electrical lighting is used to balance lighting in spaces negating any potential
energy savings. For existing buildings, the available methods to provide effective daylight are limited by the
existing constructions and configuration.
This paper aims to evaluate the potential of daylight inside interior spaces under clear sky conditions
- the intensity of internal illumination in residential apartment building from available outside external
illumination in various apartments in different parts of Chennai city. The natural and electrical lighting in
low rise apartments present in coastal areas of Chennai is studied. Comparative analysis has been done for
these buildings.

1. INTRODUCTION
In a multi-storied apartment, daylight, a non- depleting and one of the most significant resources
received from sun, is an important aspect since the illumination received by the lower stories is less when
compared to that in the higher stories. Due to the necessity of conservation and reduction of energy usage in
recent years, daylight has been incorporated as one of the most basic aspects in designing a building. Direct
solar illumination is not a part of daylight design since it creates discomfort due to glare and heat. Hence
only sky radiation is considered for illuminating interior spaces of a building.

Owing to the varying positions of the sun throughout the year, it is difficult to predict the daylight
that enters a building. Hence with changing geographical locations the intensity of sunlight and its
distribution cannot be constant.

2. METHODOLOGY
This research examines some of the low-rise apartment buildings in Chennai – in areas such as
Mylapore, Alwarpet and Raja Annamalai Puram. In each apartment, one flat is studied indoor and outdoor
regarding how daylight enters the flat – the Illuminance is calculated using the Konica Minolta
illuminance meter. Internally, in each room the illuminance, both at the centre of the room and near the
openings/windows, with and without electrical lights are determined. These values are compared with one
another.
2. 1. Chennai

Chennai is located along the Eastern coastal plains of Tamil Nadu with an average elevation of about
6.7 metres with its highest point being 60 metres. Featuring a tropical wet and dry climate, since it lies along
the coast on thermal equator, extreme variation in the seasonal temperatures are prevented and hence
throughout the year weather is most likely hot and humid.

Figure 1: Map of India, Tamil Nadu and Chennai city


Source: Google images

SUNPATH OF CHENNAI

Figure 2: Sunpath of Chennai Figure 3: Average monthly sunshine hours


climate.com
Average Monthly Sunshine Hours

On average, March is the sunniest month and November has the lowest amount of sunshine. Chennai has the
potential to generate close to an 1.3 GW energy through rooftop solar photovoltaic (RTSPV) systems, which
can help the city reduce power demand by almost 10 percent, as well as cut down on electricity bills.
Switching to solar power will also help Chennai reduce air pollution by bringing down its dependence on
coal as a source of power.

Average Minimum and Maximum Temperatures

Figure 4: Average temperature in Chennai


Source: An image from https://weather-and-climate.com/

Average annual maximum temperature is: 91.4° Fahrenheit (33.0° Celsius)


Average annual minimum temperature is: 77° Fahrenheit (25.0° Celsius)

APARTMENTS STUDIED:
1. PARK VILLA APARTMENTS
LOCATION: No.14, East Abhiramipuarm 1st Street, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018

This is a four storied apartment with two


units in each floor. The area of each unit
is 1250 sq.ft. Each unit consists of a hall,
a kitchen, 3 bedrooms and 2 overhung
balconies.

Figure 5: Context of the apartment


This east facing apartment is surrounded by equally tall
buildings in east, north and south direction and a two storied
building to the west side of the apartment. The surrounding
trees provide shade to the apartment.
The width of the street is 9m.
The building has an average clearance of about 15.75 metres
around it, ignoring the presence of trees.
Streets run alongside the east and north directions, hence
more daylight comes from these two sides.
The balconies facing the south, are potential to bring enough
daylight into the hall and kitchen, but they are mildly shaded
by the neighbouring building.
Illuminance was calculated using the Illuminance Meter
(Unit – lux or k lux). The following measurements were
taken at around 2 pm – 3pm in the afternoon.

Figure 6: Distance from the surrounding apartments


Source: Balasubramanian, 2018

Figure 7: Third Floor Plan (+9m from ground level)


Source: Balasubramanian, 2018
NATURAL LIGHTING OUTSIDE THE BUILDING LIGHTING IN THE LANDINGS OF THE STAIRCASE

Figure 8: Natural lighting outside the building Figure 9: Lighting in the landings of the staircase

Source: Balasubramanian, 2018 Source: Balasubramanian, 2018

The illuminance in the North , North-East, West, Due to the presence of openings in
and North-West directions is lower when intermediate landings, the amount of daylight
compared to the other directions, due to the entering is higher compared to that in the
presence of trees. In the entrance of the apartment, respective floors. With increase in height, the
the illuminance was 1361 lux. quantity of light entering increases due to the
absence of obstructions in the exterior.

Figure 10: Lighting in the interior


Source: Balasubramanian, 2018

There is an extreme contrast in the values near the openings when compared to that in the centre of
each room. Almost all the rooms receive more than enough daylight except for the bedroom located
in the south-west direction (due to the presence of trees). Since the rooms are quite large in size, the
illuminance value decreases with the increase in distance from the openings.
2. SESHACHALAM APARTMENTS

LOCATION: Bheemanna Garden Street, Sriram colony,


R.A.Puram, Chennai - 600028

This is a two storied apartment, with two units in


each floor. Each unit is a 3 BHK flat. The area of
each unit is 1450 sq.ft. Each unit consists of a
hall, a kitchen, 3 bedrooms, a storeroom and a
balcony.

Figure 11: Context of the apartment


Source: Manoharan, 2018

This north facing apartment is surrounded by


equally tall building on the south direction and a two
storied building to the east side of the apartment.
The dense tree cover provides ample shade to the
apartment.
The width of the street is 9m. Streets run alongside
the east-west directions, hence more daylight comes
from these sides.
This building is north-south oriented, hence it has a
possibility of receiving maximum amount of day
light, but due to the tree cover the flat on the ground
floor doesn’t get sufficient amount of sunlight as it
is expected to receive.
The balcony facing the west, are potential to bring
enough daylight into the hall and dining, but they
are shaded by the trees.
Figure 12: Distance from the surrounding apartments Illuminance was calculated using the Illuminance
Meter (Unit – lux or k lux).The following
measurements were taken at around 3 pm – 4 pm in
the afternoon.

Figure 13: Ground Floor Plan


Source: Manoharan, 2018
NATURAL LIGHTING OUTSIDE THE BUILDING LIGHTING IN THE LANDINGS OF THE STAIRCASE

Figure 14: Natural lighting outside the building Figure 15: Lighting in the landings of the staircase
Source: Manoharan, 2018 Source: Manoharan, 2018

The illuminance in the exterior is low, due to the Due to the presence of openings in
presence of trees.The illuminance at the entrance intermediate landings, the amount of
of the apartment was 870 lux daylight entering is higher compared to that
in the respective floors. With increase in
height, the quantity of light entering
increases due to the absence of obstructions
in the exterior.

Figure 16: Lighting in the interior


Source: Manoharan, 2018

There is an extreme contrast in the values near the openings when compared to that in the centre of
each rooms. This difference in the quantity of light varies with different times during the day,
depending on the position of the sun. The bedroom facing the east direction receives more daylight
than the other bedrooms due to the absence of obstructions. The rooms in the south, west and north
directions receive comparatively less amount of daylight due to the presence of trees.
3. KAVERI APARTMENTS
LOCATION: Brindavan Street, Mylapore, Chennai - 600004

This is a four storied apartment building block,


with two units in each floor. There are four
such blocks. Each unit is a 2 BHK flat. The
area of each unit is 855 sq.ft.

Figure 17: Context of the apartment


Source: Seenivasan, 2018

This south facing apartment is surrounded by equally tall


building on the south direction and a two storied building to
the west side of the apartment with ample space in between.
The tree cover provides shade on the south negating the
effects of harsh sunlight to the apartment.
The width of the street is 10m.Streets run alongside the east-
west directions, hence more daylight comes from these
sides.
This building is north-south oriented, hence it has a
possibility of receiving maximum amount of day light,
which might reduce the amount of electricity usage. The
balcony facing the west, has potential to bring enough
daylight into the hall and kitchen.
Figure 18: Distance between the surrounding
Illuminance was calculated using the Illuminance Meter
apartments (Unit – lux or k lux).The following measurements were
Source: Seenivasan, 2018 taken at around 3 pm – 4 pm in the afternoon.

Figure 19: Second Floor Plan (+6m from ground level)


Source: Seenivasan, 2018
NATURAL LIGHTING OUTSIDE THE BUILDING LIGHTING IN THE LANDINGS OF THE STAIRCASE

Figure 20: Natural lighting outside the building Figure 21: Lighting in the landings of the staircase
Source: Seenivasan, 2018 Source: Seenivasan, 2018

The illuminance in the exterior is high to the Due to the presence of openings in intermediate
positioning of the apartment.The illuminance at landings, the amount of daylight entering is higher
the entrance of the apartment was 4.64 k lux compared to that in the respective floors. With
increase in height, the quantity of light entering
increases due to the absence of obstructions in the
exterior.

Figure 22: Lighting in the interior


Source: Seenivasan, 2018

There is not much difference in the values near the openings and in the centre of each room. This is
because, the amount of daylight entering the building is less in almost all the four directions, due to
obstructions like trees and neighbouring buildings. Also, the size of the balconies is not large
enough to let in light into the other rooms. The living room, dining room and kitchen do not receive
enough daylight due to obstructions on the west, north and east directions.
COMPARITIVE ANALYSIS OF THE THREE BUILDINGS THAT WERE OBSERVED

OPENING PERCENTAGE IN EACH APARTMENT

Figure 23: Comparitive analysis of the three buildings


Source: Seenivasan, 2018
The minimum opening percentage that should be provided in an apartment for providing sufficient daylight
is 8% and all the three apartments mentioned above have satisfied this criteria.

LIGHTING IN THE CENTRE OF THE ROOMS WITHOUT ELECTRICAL LIGHTING

Figure 23: Lighting in the centre of the rooms without electrical lighting
Source: Manoharan, 2018
There is a vast difference between the illuminance value in the balcony of Kaveri apartment and that of the
other two apartments. This is because, the balconies of the former are facing the south direction, and the
balconies in the latter are facing the north and east directions with obstructions like trees and neighbouring
buildings.
LIGHTING IN THE CENTRE OF THE ROOMS WITH ELECTRICAL LIGHTING

Figure 24: Lighting in the centre of the rooms with electrical lighting
Source: Balasubramanian, 2018
There is not much difference in the illuminance values with and without electrical lighting. The only notable
difference is in the balcony of Park Villa Apartment, which has good electrical lighting.

INFERENCE
1. The amount of daylight entering the building is comparatively less in the lower floors, and increases
as the building goes up – various reasons are, vegetative cover, buildings around it(mostly individual
houses which are two storied)
2. Apartments with larger setback area tend to bring in more daylight and ventilation. Also, to reduce
the effect of harsh sunlight from the east, south and west directions, a cover of trees would help.
3. The prevention of undesirable side effects due to daylight in an interior space is as important as
providing that space with enough daylight. This can be provided artificially if not available naturally.
Making these electrical lighting controls efficient improves the energy efficiency of the building
making it quite sustainable.
Three types of controls are commercially available to reduce energy intake:
• Switching controls: when there is adequate sunshine, the on-and-off controls turn off
the electric lights.
• Stepped controls: in between levels of lighting control are provided by individual
lamps.
• Dimming controls: persistently alter electric lighting by regulating the power input
to luminaires to balance the illumination level given by sunshine.
RESULT
The daylighting conditions in various low-rise residential apartments were analysed and assessed and the
above inference was obtained.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This research was supported by Mrs. J. Jeyaradha, Asst. professor at School of Architecture and Planning,
who provided us with insight and expertise that assisted the research greatly.
We would also like to thank Dr.Ranee Vedamuthu, Dean, School of Architecture and planning and Dr.
Sitalakshmi, Head of Architecture Department, School of Architecture and Planning for letting us take part
in this program.

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