Flat Glass or Crystal Dome Aperture? A Year-Long Comparative Analysis of the Performance of Light Pipes in Real Residential Settings and Climatic Conditions
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Light pipeCrystal dome apertureFlat glass apertureYear-long comparative recorded illuminanceWeatheringCircadian entrainment
Sibley, Magda; Peña-García, Antonio. Flat Glass or Crystal Dome Aperture? A Year-Long Comparative Analysis of the Performance of Light Pipes in Real Residential Settings and Climatic Conditions. Sustainability 2020, 12, 3858; [doi:10.3390/su12093858]
This paper presents the first comparative study of its type of the performance of light pipes with different types of apertures: a flat glass versus a bohemian crystal dome. Measurements were taken at 20-min intervals over a period of one year in the bathrooms of two newly built identical houses of the same orientation located in Manchester, UK. The comparative analysis of the data collected for both light pipes types reveals that the crystal domed aperture consistently outperforms the flat glass one. Furthermore, the difference in the recorded horizontal illuminance is most marked during the winter months and at the end of the one-year experiment, indicating that the crystal dome has better performance for low incident winter light and higher resistance for the long term effect of weathering and pollution. This study provides strong evidence based on long term real measurements. Such evidence informs architects’ decisions when weighing up the aesthetic considerations of a flat glass aperture versus the higher illumination levels afforded by a crystal dome aperture with higher resistance to weathering and pollution.