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The VELUX Daylight Visualizer enlightens a new-build school academy

A new school building project was commissioned with a clear design vision—deliver an exceptional learning facility to best serve pupils and the community.

Understanding daylight level factors improves learning

The school design is a steel-framed superblock with a compacted floorplate and accommodating spaces spread over four floors. In the main building, classrooms benefit from daylight provided through vertical glazing. Larger communal spaces such as the main hall, internal corridors, a dining room, and drama studio can be found in the heart of the building. Daylight in these communal spaces is provided through the roof.  

Activity spaces such as the sports hall, a gym and library required specific daylight levels to comply with the Department for Education (DfE) output specification requirements. Deep-plan, central locations also required a calculated daylight design, prompting Pozzoni Architects to invite VELUX Commercial to collaborate on the project and assist with the evaluation of daylight provision. 

Daylight level analysis simplifies complex design goals

The original design for the academy included six roof areas with 24 horizontal daylight penetrations of varying shapes and sizes. Prior to a review of the building design by TACE Engineering Practice for confirmation of DfE compliance, an early 3D model was subject to analysis for daylight conditions by the Daylight Visualizer. 

Simulated daylight factors were able to accurately predict daylight levels, quantity, distribution, and the appearance of a space when lit by natural light. The data was then interpreted and presented in a daylight report by VELUX Commercial, providing unexpected results. 

Understanding analyse to optimise cost-efficiency

A suggestion was to reduce the number of rooflights from 24 to 18 and in one area to eliminate rooflights altogether. The reduction from 24 to 18 openings would see supply and installation costs lowered by 33%, equating to savings of approximately £49,000.  

The analysis also showed that reducing the number of openings and changing the size, type, angle and location would significantly improve the quality of daylight, enhancing acoustics to create a sense of harmony within the school. 




Products used in project

18 x Longlight

Longlight 5-30°

A mono-pitched solution ideal for flat roofs

Illustration of Longlight solution Read more

Quantity of modules: 67

51 x factory-fitted roller blinds

Longlight 5-30°

A mono-pitched solution ideal for flat roofs

Illustration of Longlight solution Read more

Alice Parker

Associate at Pozzoni Architecture

Early engagement with VELUX Commercial and the application of the Daylight Visualizer at the concept stage of this building project allowed us to be confident with the suggested reductions in rooflights—efficient daylight design can be done right the first time.

The VELUX Daylight Visualizer justifies the choice of blinds to meet DfE output specification needs in relation to glare analysis and certification.

The DfE requires blinds to be installed for all rooflights unless facing within 15 degrees of absolute north. If blinds are not specified, the contractor must demonstrate that an adequate visual environment can still be created. The VELUX Daylight Visualizer provided a glare analysis robust enough to support an exclusion of blinds in two of six areas, reducing production and installation costs.
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