Climate-Based Daylight Modelling for compliance verification: Benchmarking multiple state-of-the-art methods

E. Brembilla*, J. Mardaljevic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Climate-Based Daylight Modelling (CBDM) gives designers the possibility to evaluate complex, long-term luminous environment dynamics. This complexity can be challenging to simulate, and even more challenging to communicate effectively through the use of performance metrics. A multiplicity of CBDM techniques and metrics has been developed over the last two decades, but these were rarely assessed against each other. This paper reviews four state-of-the-art techniques based on the Radiance raytracing engine and systematically compares them against a benchmark CBDM method. Four classroom spaces are used to carry out an inter-model comparison between performance metrics commonly used for compliance verification obtained from all analysed techniques. Additional sensitivity analyses assessed how changes in input variables influence such metrics. Results from the inter-model comparison showed that the representation of direct sunlight is markedly different between the various CBDM techniques, and that metrics based on horizontal direct sunlight are very sensitive to the choice of simulation method. This led to differences in predicted Annual Sunlight Exposure up to 39 percentage points. Metrics that consider both direct and inter-reflected light were found to be more robust, with variations from benchmark results within ±15%. The analysis of the input variables showed that sensor grid spacing and time-step interpolation do not significantly affect any of these metrics. Changes in orientation and sky discretisation scheme had different effects depending on the metric and technique considered. The need for authoritative benchmarking systems when introducing new performance metrics for compliance verification or new simulation methods is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Annual daylight metrics
  • Climate-based daylight modelling
  • Inter-model comparison
  • Radiance
  • Simulation benchmarks


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