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Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185

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Daylight performance and users’ visual appraisal for green building

offices in Malaysia
Gene-Harn Lim a,∗ , Michael Barry Hirning b , Nila Keumala a , Norafida Ab. Ghafar a
Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
IEN Consultants, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Lighting energy savings, as well as visual and non-visual user benefits have been widely attributed to
Received 13 August 2016 daylighting. This paper explores daylight design strategy, visual appraisal, Daylight Factor (DF), lighting
Received in revised form 23 January 2017 energy usage and discomfort glare using two green building offices in Malaysia, which have incorporated
Accepted 11 February 2017
daylighting into both façade and interior design. Visual appraisal surveys were collected from 39 and
Available online 20 February 2017
145 subjects in the open plan working space of the Energy Commission Building (ECB) and Public Works
Department Block G (PWD), respectively. The survey focused on task brightness, colour appearance,
uniformity and lighting preference. Discomfort glare assessed via occupant point-of-view luminance
Daylight factor
maps was juxtaposed here from a glare study involving the same buildings. Illuminance loggers were
Discomfort glare used to monitor artificial lighting usage as well as the DF on a selected floor of each building. There were
Green building no significant differences in occupant responses to the visual appraisal survey for both office spaces. Using
Visual appraisal MS1525:2014 and Green Building Index (GBI NRNC) tool as baselines, the DF performance of both offices
differs significantly: PWD had a 45.5% daylit area, with ECB a 14.8% daylit area for DF >1%. However,
lighting energy usage results show substantial savings of 53% and 41% occurred from daylighting. These
findings of visual appraisal, DF, lighting energy savings and discomfort glare show a discrepancy in using
only the DF to justify the daylight performance of an office space in a tropical climate such as Malaysia. The
findings suggest that equivalent consideration should be given to interior design to facilitate daylighting,
which is often beyond the control of designer, but in the hands of office end users.
© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND
license (

1. Introduction which similarly evaluate the sustainability of a building, taking

into account various aspects of design and construction; such as
In the wake of energy efficiency practices to mitigate the effects energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality
of climate change, various sustainable building assessment tools (IEQ), sustainable site management and materials & resources [1,3].
have been established since the late 20th century [1]. The build- Daylighting is an important aspect of green building design. The
ing sector has the highest potential to reduce its carbon output benefits of good daylighting to both energy efficiency and visual
given the same mitigation costs across various other sectors such as comfort are well known, as are the consequences [6–9]. Presently,
transportation and agriculture [2]. In response, the Malaysian gov- the justification for what constitutes “good” versus “bad” daylight
ernment intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity design in green buildings is measured via the Daylight Factor (DF).
by 45% (scaled by GDP) by the year 2030 from its 2005 intensity by This paper evaluates the success of the Daylight Factor in producing
introducing various environmental related policies and programs a well day-lit space in the tropics using two GBI platinum rated
[3–5]. One such program was the establishment of Malaysia’s Green government office buildings in Malaysia.
Building Index (GBI) in 2009, which signified the start of the green
building movement in Malaysia [1].
1.1. Daylighting and visual appraisal
To date, there are multiple green building certifications in
use in Malaysia, such as LEED, Green Mark, GBI and MyCREST,
The human preference for daylight over artificial light for office
spaces is well established [7,10–12]. Daylight both stimulates and
regulates our circadian system, which subsequently affects our
∗ Corresponding author. alertness and mood [13,14]. It also provides variation of lumi-
E-mail address: (G.-H. Lim). nance and colour that influence the attractiveness and desirability
0378-7788/© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
176 G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185

of spaces [15]. Provision of windows satisfies the occupants desire cial lighting only and not optimized for skylight or daylight design
for a connection to the outside, consequently improving their mood in Malaysia [7,28,29].
[12,16]. Carter & Marwaee [17] found that people were more sat-
isfied with the lighting when they had windows, even if windows
1.4. Daylighting in Malaysia
were not appreciably affecting the lighting at their task location.
Galasiu & Veitch [12] also found that glare may be better toler-
A survey of 41 rooms in 5 office buildings across Malaysia
ated from daylight than from artificial light if there was a good
showed that none of these office spaces achieved more than 0.5%
view available. A survey of readers’ satisfaction at Raja Tun Uda
DF due to the deployment of internal shading devices [28]. Despite
Public Library in Malaysia found 74% of the respondents agreed
the offices having deep overhangs to block direct sun, glare from
that their seating preference is affected by daylight [18]. There
the high luminance ratio of the window to internal surfaces caused
are also claims that daylight improves work productivity, however
occupants to engage their internal shading. Lim et al. [30] identified
as pointed out by Sullivan, Donn, & Baird [19], the findings from
18 government offices in Malaysia with identical façade design, and
laboratory research are not very reliable as people usually take
placement of individual occupant rooms at the perimeter. A simu-
days to adjust to a different luminous environment. This intangible
lation study showed that a light shelf could have reduced excessive
connection between productivity and daylight has constrained the
daylight illuminance and improved uniformity in these offices.
economic feasibility aspect of daylighting to only consider energy
A recent (2016) survey of discomfort glare in six office buildings
savings, which does not take occupants’ well-being into account
in Malaysia, including three GBI certified green office buildings,
found the most common source of glare in green buildings came
from windows [31]. With glare from windows in green buildings
experienced by 35% of occupants compared to just 7% in non-green
1.2. Daylighting and energy efficiency
office buildings [31]. In tropical climates, a view of the bright sky is
a major glare concern. These findings highlight that façade design
Daylighting can reduce the reliance on artificial lighting, which
principles adopted from temperate climates may not adequately
has been shown to help reduce the cooling load and building
utilize daylight in the tropics [32].
energy demand [21]. This is possible as diffuse daylight has a higher
luminous efficacy, 110–130 lm/watt, than most artificial lighting,
70–100 lm/watt [22]. Yu & Su [8] reviewed 20 papers and found 2. Methodology
daylight harvesting can lead to energy savings in lighting of 20–87%.
However, these calculations were assessed from non-field mea- 2.1. Buildings
surement methods such as simulation and algorithm calculations.
In the context of tropical skies, Kamaruzzaman et al. [23] eval- This daylight performance study took place in two government
uated the Klang District Office in Malaysia and found an average offices, the Energy Commission Building (ECB) and Public Works
lighting consumption saving of 37% due to daylighting. However, it Department Block G (PWD) located in Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur
is important to note that occupancy and usage trends will impact respectively (Figs. 1 and 2). The ECB, completed in 2010, is a multi-
energy savings. A study of 4 offices in Korea revealed that despite award winning green building which obtained GBI Platinum and
a 43% reduction in lighting energy use due to automatic dimming, Green Mark Platinum awards in the Non-Residential category. It
the change in occupancy patterns lead to an increase in lighting was recognised as the ASEAN Energy Award Winner (2012) and
energy use by up to 50% [24]. ASHRAE Technology Award Runner-Up (2013) [33]. Completed in
2013, PWD was the first high rise building to be certified GBI Plat-
inum [34].
1.3. Current recommendations for daylighting office spaces in Nikpour et al. [35] explicitly studied the daylight quality of ECB.
Malaysia Despite having an office depth of 18 m, the daylighting strategy of
ECB focuses on using a light shelf and atrium to reflect only dif-
The local Malaysia standards required for new green office fuse daylight into the space. In addition to the removal of ceiling
buildings are the Green Building Index Non-Residential New Con- panels and using white finishes for internal surfaces, the cubicle
struction (GBI NRNC) tool and MS1525:2014 Code of Practice for was designed to facilitate daylight across the office space by using
Energy Efficiency and Use of Renewable Energy for Non-Residential translucent partitions (Fig. 1). Roller blinds were provided for occu-
Buildings. Under the daylighting credit EQ8 (for GBI NRNC) points pant’s visual comfort at the vision glazing below the light shelf,
are awarded based on the percentage of coverage of the Net Let- while louvers between the light shelf and ceiling prevented low
table Area (NLA) that achieves a Daylight Factor (DF) of 1.0–3.5% angle direct sun from entering the space from above the light shelf.
measured at the work plane [25]. A separate credit on the Post Occu- Also of note is the usage of an automatic blind system at the atrium
pancy Comfort Survey, EQ15, requires that if 20% of occupants are opening which allows only diffuse light from the sky. This was
dissatisfied with the overall comfort, including lighting level and designed to block direct afternoon insolation, which would bring
glare problems, then corrective action must be taken [25]. There is excessive heat gain into the building.
no specific credit awarded for reducing lighting energy from day- PWD is a 37 storey office tower that allows daylight penetra-
light harvesting; however, there is a collective credit that looks tion by taking advantage of perforated horizontal louvers along the
into the reduction of total building energy consumption (Credit EE5 vision window (Fig. 2). The closing angle of the horizontal louver is
Advanced EE Performance). This means that in design it is possible limited to ensure there is a minimum opening for diffuse daylight
to score credits in daylighting through DF performance alone. This to enter. Fundamentally, both buildings have daylighting strate-
requires a simulation model without any interior fittings during the gies that allow occupants to manually adjust blinds in response to
Design Assessment stage, which is not representative of the actual brightness at the window whilst not jeopardizing the abundance of
interior office condition [26]. diffuse daylight. Both buildings emphasize daylighting strategies,
MS1525:2014 briefly mentions a recommended DF of 1.0–3.5%, though different in approach, in an attempt to achieve benefits in
the same as GBI NRNC EQ8. It also recommends an average illumi- energy efficiency and visual comfort [26]. Both office spaces use
nance of 200 lx for infrequent reading and 300–400 lx for general efficient luminaires (Philips Essential 2 × 28W T5 Fluorescent) con-
office spaces [27]. However, these illumination ranges are for artifi- trolled by on/off daylight sensors with a set point of 250 lx. The
G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185 177

Fig. 1. Pictures of Energy Commission Building office in Putrajaya.

Fig. 2. Pictures of PWD Block G Level 31 office in Kuala Lumpur.

Table 1 satisfied”, “Somewhat Satisfied”, “Satisfied”, “Strongly Satisfied”,

Comparison of daylight design strategy for both offices.
and also had an additional option of “No Opinion” at the end (see
Design Feature ECB PWD Appendix A). A six point Likert scale was chosen as the neutral
Window to Wall Ratio 50% 90% option of a 5 or 7 point Likert scale may be misrepresented as no
Glazing Transmittance 53% 54% opinion, thus causing misleading results [39]. Responses from pri-
Blinds Transmittance 8% 30% vate rooms or any other non-open plan working area were excluded
Ceiling/Wall/Floor 90%/70%/30% 90%/70%/30% from the results, as were surveys with responses of “No Opinion”.
Subsequently, a total of 39 and 145 surveys from ECB and PWD
Orientation of Openings All Orientations with Core All Orientations with
occupying South Segment Core occupying South were analysed using the Mann-Whitney U Test via IBM SPSS Soft-
Segment ware. The Mann-Whitney U Test is used to compare the differences
Notable Daylight Light Shelf, Atrium Perforated horizontal between two independent groups with an ordinal dependent vari-
Harvesting Strategy Opening blinds, high
transmittance interior
Occupancy Density 27.15 m2 /pax 11.89 m2 /pax
Depth of Office Space 18 m 13 m
2.3. Daylight factor
Workspace Typology Mixture of private rooms Open Plan concept
and cubicles with with partitions below The DF is defined as the ratio of the internal horizontal illumi-
partitions above sitting sitting eye level nance on the work plane to the external horizontal illuminance
measured under CIE overcast skies. It has been well documented
Cubicle Partition <30% >90%
Transmittance that the CIE overcast sky is an idealised sky condition available only
in simulation and is impossible to observe in reality [43,44]. Three
units of TENMARS TM-203 illuminance loggers were synchronized
horizontal illuminance was designed to comply with MS1525:2014 to record at 1-s intervals. Two units (Logger B & C) were placed
(300–400 lx) [27]. The design features of each building are listed in on the roof of the building to ensure there were no surrounding
Table 1. obstructions. A mirror was used to shade one logger against the
direct sun while the other was left unobstructed (Fig. 3). Using this
2.2. Visual appraisal survey setup, the readings from loggers were compared to determine if
there was any direct sunlight. If both loggers registered a global
The parameters of the office space that affect daylighting were horizontal illuminance value below 60,000 lx, and both readings
evaluated by occupants via an online visual appraisal survey. The were within 10% of each other, the sky condition was considered
survey (in Malay language) was sent out by the administration of as overcast and suitable for DF calculation. This method eliminated
both office spaces during the measuring period in 2015 (August for relying solely on visual inspection to assess sky conditions. The sky
ECB, October for PWD). It assessed occupant demographics, con- condition in Malaysia is predominantly intermediate (85.6%), fol-
trollability of the lighting environment and visual appraisal under lowed by overcast (14%) [41]. Weather data from the measurement
paper work and computer work. It is known that visual appraisal period (August and October) was extracted from IWEC (Interna-
and cognitive performance differ under different luminous envi- tional Weather for Energy Calculations) weather data, which is
ronment parameters, such as illuminance, colour temperature derived from up to 18 years of hourly weather data (Table 2) [42].
and uniformity [36–38]. A 6 points Likert scale was used which This data was used a guide to accept only horizontal illuminance
consisted of “Strongly Dissatisfied”, “Dissatisfied”, “Somewhat Dis- readings below 60,000 lx for DF calculations. Concurrently, dur-
178 G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185

Table 2
Comparison of Weather Data of September and November [42].

Month Global Horizontal Radiation Direct Normal Radiation Diffuse Radiation Cloud Cover Global Horizontal
(Avg Daily Total) (Avg Daily Total) (Avg Daily Total) (Occurrence) Illumination (Avg Hourly)

August 4336 Wh/sq m 1044 Wh/sq m 3521 Wh/sq m 83%–92% 40,730 lx

October 4219 Wh/sq m 853 Wh/sq m 3533 Wh/sq m 85%–92%. 40,203 lx

Fig. 4. Method of identifying luminaire activation.

Fig. 3. Illustration of the DF Measurement Settings.

inactive compared to if all light circuits were activated throughout

the working hours (8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.).
ing acceptable overcast conditions, the third logger (Logger A) was
used to measure the indoor illuminance at 800 mm from the floor
throughout the entire space. The illuminance measurement points 2.5. Discomfort glare
covered all work desks and walkways, with a spacing of 1.5–2 m
between points. All measurements were completed in about thirty The visual comfort in both ECB and PWD were assessed inde-
minutes for each building. The positions of the blinds were not dis- pendently of the DF and lighting usage studies using data from
turbed, and the electric lights were switched off. This procedure a published study by Hirning et al., assessing discomfort glare
measured a total of 201 and 304 points for ECB and PWD respec- in Malaysian buildings [31]. Both ECB and PWD were buildings
tively. included in that study, which updated the Unified Glare Probabil-
The DF was obtained by the illuminance ratio of Logger A to ity (UGP); a discomfort glare metric derived from in-situ survey
Logger B. The DF performance was evaluated using two different responses and occupant point of view luminance maps. The UGP
approaches. The first approach calculated the number of measured is a modification of the UGR and was developed for assessing glare
points achieving the recommended DF range (1–3.5%) by GBI NRNC specifically in open plan spaces in tropical and sub-tropical climates
and MS1525:2014. This was then divided by the total number of (Eq. (1)) [31,45].
measuring points to express the percentage of points in the recom-
mended DF range. The second approach inserts the DF value of each 1
coordinate into the layout plan. Then the area of the recommended UGP =  10 (1)
DF range is calculated from the layout plan (Figs. 10 and 11). Simi-
  L2 ωs,i
2 1 n
1+ 7 Lb i=1
larly, the area of recommended DF was divided by the total area to
express the percentage of area in the recommended DF range. This
made it easy to compare both approaches.
Where Ls is the luminance of the glare source, Lb is the background
glare luminance, ωs is the solid angle subtended by the glare source,
2.4. Lighting circuit usage P is Guth’s position index and n is the number of glare sources.
Clear, intermediate and overcast sky conditions were observed
A typical floor layout of each building was selected to conduct during the experiment. The visual comfort assessments for ECB
both the DF (see Section 2.3) and lighting usage study. Level 31 of were conducted over two days under clear sky conditions during
PWD and Level 2 of ECB were selected for monitoring as they were August 2015, and over 4 days under overcast and intermediate sky
occupied by administration departments, and expected to have conditions for PWD in November 2015. A total of 68 and 93 occu-
consistent occupancy patterns throughout the measuring period. pant luminance maps were obtained ECB and PWD respectively.
The usage trend of the recessed artificial light circuits was Though the exact dates of the survey and surveyed occupants do
tracked with HOBO-U12 loggers (in 5 min intervals) over a one not match, they do overlap. Therefore to characterise the discom-
month period during working hours (8.30 a.m.–5.30 p.m.) for both fort glare of occupants within ECB and PWD, the UGP calculated for
ECB and PWD respectively. The loggers were hung 10 cm below occupant luminance maps was averaged in two categories: Occu-
each lighting circuit, and were considered activated upon exposure pants situated in areas that fell within the recommended DF range
to high illuminances >2000 lx (Fig. 4). Another two units of HOBO- of 1–3.5% (shown in Figs. 10 and 11) and those occupants situated
U12 loggers were placed 1 m from the perimeter of the glazing outside this range. The UGP estimates the likelihood that an occu-
to record the vertical illuminance of daylight from windows. This pant will experience discomfort glare by returning a value between
allowed a check of the responsiveness of electric lighting controls 0 and 1, which can also be expressed as a percentage. This gives a
to the available daylight. snapshot of the glare experienced by occupants in these buildings
A total of 11 and 6 lighting circuits were monitored for ECB and during the survey period. It should be noted that during the data
PWD respectively (Fig. 5). Energy savings in lighting were com- collection period for ECB the automated atrium blind was not fully
puted by considering the duration that lighting circuits remained in operation.
G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185 179

Fig. 5. Floorplan of ECB and PWD with démarcations of lighting circuits and open plan floor areas.

Fig. 6. Visual Appraisal for Paper Work and Computer Work for Both Office Spaces.

3. Results Table 3
Tabulation of Lighting Performance for Both Offices.

3.1. Visual appraisal survey Office Space ECB Office PWD Block G Office

Total measuring points 201 304

A complete visual appraisal survey was returned from 39 and recorded
145 users in ECB and PWD respectively. There were no significant Percentage of measuring 14.4% 42.4%
differences in both office users’ visual satisfaction between paper- points for DF >1%
Percentage of measured 14.8% 45.5%
based work and computer work (P > 0.05) (Fig. 6). This was similar
area for DF >1%
across all surveyed parameters i.e. brightness, colour appearance Average reduction in 41% 53%
and uniformity. Therefore, the survey results did not establish any artificial lighting energy
superiority in visual appraisal between the two office spaces (Fig. 7). due to Daylighting
Average UGP for DF >1% 0.45 (n = 35) 0.32 (n = 52)
More than 80% and 65% of users in ECB and PWD preferred hav-
Average UGP for DF <1% 0.33 (n = 33) 0.42 (n = 41)
ing some daylight in their office working space (Fig. 8). However,
there were 28% and 25% of occupants dissatisfied with task bright-
ness for paper work in ECB and PWD respectively. Similarly for area of daylit space compared to ECB using the recommended DF
computer work, 21% and 24%; of occupants were dissatisfied with range.
task brightness.
3.3. Lighting circuit usage
3.2. Daylight factor
The artificial lighting circuits’ usage was investigated to evaluate
The DF results for both calculation methodologies as outlined in the effectiveness of daylighting and lighting controls. Fig. 9 show
Section 2.3 are shown in Table 3. Figs. 10 and 11 graphically display selected results (from 1 month of usage data) for vertical illumi-
the DF results for ECB and PWD respectively. There was no signif- nance at the facade against the number of activated light circuits
icant difference between the two methods, with the percentage of for PWD. The results show that the lighting circuits in both build-
measuring points with DF >1% (14.4 and 42.4%) agreeing with the ings were responsive to daylight as expected. For example, Fig. 9
calculated area of DF >1% (14.8 and 45.5%) for both ECB and PWD shows a day in which half of the lighting circuits in PWD were
respectively. The results clearly show that PWD has a far greater switched off in the morning (8.30 a.m. to 12.00 p.m.) due to the
180 G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185

Fig. 7. Satisfaction Percentage for Paper Work and Computer Work for Both Office Spaces.

3.4. Discomfort glare

Table 3 also shows the results of the UGP calculation from occu-
pant luminance maps. The visual comfort between the DF >1% and
DF <1% areas of the building are significantly different (p = ∼0.00) in
both ECB and PWD. ECB has more discomfort glare near the facades
(UGP 45%) compared to the interior (UGP 33%). However, the oppo-
site occurs in PWD, with more discomfort glare in the interior (UGP
42%) compared to near the façade (UGP 32%).

4. Discussion

4.1. Daylight performance and visual appraisal

Table 3 shows that ECB (14.8%) and PWD (45.5%) have vastly
different daylight performance in terms of measured area of DF
Fig. 8. Cumulative Percentage of Users’ Lighting P.
>1%. However, despite the different DF performance for both office
spaces, there is no statistically significant difference in occupants’
visual appraisal of both offices (Fig. 6). Though it should be noted
that the visual appraisal feedback is not confined to the effects of
daylight itself as both offices still use artificial lighting. However the
monitored lighting circuit usage shows a substantial dependency
on daylight (Fig. 9). Fig. 8 showed that more than 80% and 65% of
users in ECB and PWD, respectively, preferred having some daylight
in their office working space. This result agrees with Hirning et al.
[31] which found 62% of occupants in 6 office buildings in Malaysia
preferred working under daylight.
The dissatisfaction with task brightness for paper-based work
and computer work ranges from 21% to 28% of occupants. This find-
ing is consistent with a survey of more than 30,000 respondents
across 215 buildings in the United States and Canada, where it was
found that occupants in green buildings are on average more satis-
fied with indoor air quality and thermal comfort, but not in lighting,
office layout and acoustics [46]. Abbaszadeh et al. [46] found a cor-
Fig. 9. Extract of 2 days lighting circuit activation logging results for PWD. relation between green building design with open plan offices that
have low or no partitions at all.
GBI NRNC credit EQ15 emphasises the need for corrective action
sufficient daylight from east facing windows; with all monitored upon finding more than 20% of surveyed occupants are dissatisfied.
lighting circuits switched off in the afternoon (12.00 p.m. to 4.00 Even though the majority of occupants agreed that the brightness
p.m.). level was sufficient, the dissatisfaction expressed by more than 20%
The energy savings for lighting measured across the one month of occupant’s means there is concerning visual discomfort which
period for ECB and PWD were 40.9% and 52.8% respectively needs to be addressed in these spaces. The assessment using the
(Table 3). This shows a substantial interaction of the office space Unified Glare Probability (UGP) supports these findings, as the like-
with daylight. The calculation assumes a base case where there lihood of glare on average in both buildings exceeds 20% (Table 3).
is no daylight sensor at all, and the monitored lighting circuits Similarly, Hirning et al. [31] found that 43% occupants in three green
are activated throughout all working hours (8.30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.). buildings in Malaysia experienced discomfort glare from daylight.
The activation frequency of the lighting circuits and the number It is difficult to compare the UGP results between the build-
of luminaires in each circuit are used to obtain the lighting energy ings as the sky conditions during assessment were very different.
usage. However, the results show that visual comfort did not correlate
G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185 181

Fig. 10. Daylight Factor Performance of Energy Commission Building Level 2.

with DF results. Particularly in PWD, where overcast and interme- However, in ECB, this trend is reversed in the deep plan areas
diate sky conditions were present during data collection. Occupants (DF<1% and UGP 33%) and at the façade (DF>1% and UGP 45%). Glare
were more likely to experience discomfort glare in the deep plan results from bright sky views or high luminance views of the atrium.
areas (DF<1% and UGP 42%) compared to near the façade (DF>1% Occupants in the deeper plan spaces are protected from these high
and UGP 32%). This is likely due to the perforated blinds used for contrast views by their partitions and the louvers above the light
internal shading (Fig. 12). Occupants experience discomfort from shelf (Fig. 12). As the DF in most areas of the buildings are 2% or less
contrast between viewing the brightly lit blinds at the façade from except very close to the facade, the designer would be misled into
the darker less bright areas of the interior. The façade is not self- concluding that these spaces would be glare free if using only the
shading like ECB, and it has limited external shading. Therefore the DF under the GBI NRNC guidelines to assess visual comfort.
interior blinds become backlit from the daylight that reached the The DF measurements in PWD (45.5% daylit area) outperform
façade. ECB (14.8% daylit area) as shown in Table 3. This can be attributed
to the self-shading façade design in ECB which reduces the effective
182 G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185

Fig. 11. Daylight Factor Performance of PWD Block G Office Level 31.

sky component that affects daylight penetration [35]. Despite the has subsequently cluttered the workspace. For ECB the high opacity
façade, self-shading design in ECB, Nikpour et al. [35] reinforces of partitions between workstations hampered daylight penetrating
that the light shelf and horizontal louvers have helped in pene- beyond the cubicle closest to the vision window to the next deeper
trating diffuse daylight deeper into the office space. However, the cubicle. On the other hand, in PWD, the partitions for private rooms
previous research only investigated two private office rooms in the and cubicles are highly translucent, and cubicle partitions are sit-
ECB with limited DF measurement points, only 4 and 9, respec- ting below eye level (Fig. 12). It was also intended design to place
tively. Furthermore, in the investigation of Nikpour et al. [35], the the transition zone at the middle of the floor depth (Fig. 11). This
roller blinds were seen to be rolled up fully, which explains why allowed the building to claim a lower DF (0.5%) qualification for
the recorded DF near the window was as high as 4%. the transition zone, which allowed PWD to score more than 50% of
Despite both offices having a façade design with an emphasis the office space area within the qualified DF range for GBI NRNC
on daylighting, the workspace design is visibly different (Fig. 12). credit EQ8 [26]. This confirms that the quantity and quality of day-
The workspace typology of ECB along the façade varies from private light penetrating into an office space depends on a large number of
rooms with plastered partitions and cubicles with partitions above design features and is not limited to façade design only [47].
sitting eye level. Shelf space is provided for personal storage which
G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185 183

daylight should show lighting energy savings [8], and have an effec-
tive lighting control system [12] which allows improvement in
visual appraisal [11,59,60]. It is suggested that green building rating
tools adopt holistic daylighting credits which comprise of lighting
energy saving with an office average illuminance value within the
recommended range of MS1525:2014 (200–400 lx) and satisfying
visual appraisal feedback. This will avoid green building rating tool
users from cherry picking credits within the convenience of cost
and implementation but implement it holistically.

5. Conclusion

This paper has conducted visual appraisal, Daylight Factor

field measurements, lighting energy savings and discomfort glare
assessment in two GBI platinum rated office buildings in Malaysia.
The comparison of design features between buildings has indicated
Fig. 12. Perspectives of the Workspace Typology for Both ECB and PWD offices.
the importance of interior design to allow daylight penetration, in
addition to façade design to capture diffuse daylight. This is a com-
4.2. Ambiguity of DF metric application mon ‘design gap’ in the industry where there is a missing design
translation between the architect who designs the building ele-
While the usage of DF to justify the daylight effectiveness of an ments while interior fit out is decided by the client. Despite the
office space via simulation is relatively well established, the usage difference in DF performance, both office spaces showed 41% and
of DF to justify daylight performance is heavily criticized by many 53% energy savings from daylighting. While there are no significant
[28,50–53]. The consensus is that DF is over simplified and is unable differences in visual appraisal by the occupants in both green office
to reflect complexity of daylight interaction with the office space. buildings, it is important to note that more than 20% of subjects in
It is common for many researchers and practitioners to be con- both buildings were dissatisfied with task brightness for paper and
fused over Daylight Factor (DF) and daylight level [51]. Even the computer-based work.
recently amended MS1525:2014 does not explicitly mention DF These findings support familiar arguments that DF is not an
to be measured under an overcast sky. The reference sky for DF, accurate metric that reflects the daylight performance of a space.
which is the CIE overcast sky distinctively differs from the variable This research shows a discrepancy in using the DF to justify an office
and inconstant sky condition in Malaysia [28,44,52]. DF does not space as well day-lit, as there is no noticeable relation to lighting
take dynamic variations of daylight luminance into account as the energy savings, occupants’ visual appraisal or discomfort glare. The
sun’s position changes under non-overcast skies. paper recommends a holistic approach for green building rating
Subsequently, various daylight performance metrics have been tools to award credits for daylighting based on lighting energy sav-
proposed which take into account dynamic sky luminosity and ings and satisfying visual appraisal which show the interaction of
sun path, such as Daylight Coefficient (DC) [54], Daylight Auton- occupants with daylight results in a glare free and workable envi-
omy (DA) [55], and Useful Daylight Illuminance [53]. However, ronment. There is also an urgent need for green building assessment
many researchers argue that illuminance metrics are unable to tools to use dynamic daylight metrics such as useful daylight illumi-
adequately capture the light distribution of a space, especially in nance and daylight autonomy, as well as luminance-based metrics
regards to visual comfort [56–58]; and that luminance-based met- for visual comfort, such as the UGP used to assess discomfort glare
rics, will either be used in conjunction with or supplant current in this study; as the DF is proven to be obsolete in previous literature
illuminance-based metrics in the future. and this research.

4.3. Justifying a daylight dependant office Acknowledgement

Daylighting in an office space does not lead to energy savings This work was supported by the Universiti Malaya High Impact
if there are no effective lighting control systems [7]. It was found Research Grant [H-130001-00-H000001].
that there is substantial daylight interaction in both of the inves-
tigated offices which promoted lighting energy savings of 41% and Appendix A. Survey Questionnaire
53% for ECB and PWD respectively. The energy savings in both
offices are significant and compare well with other similar stud- 1 What is your Gender?
ies [8,48,49]. From an energy savings stand point the daylighting
strategies employed in both these buildings are certainly effective.
However, the evident interaction with daylight also comes with
concern when around 20% of the occupants are not satisfied, as
stated in the post-occupancy evaluation visual appraisal survey. 2 Which category below includes your age?
The current green building rating tools, including GBI NRNC,
qualifies the daylight credit EQ8 solely by the performance of DF. (<30, 31–40, 41–50, >50)
This paper has shown the discrepancy of DF performance in regards
to lighting energy savings, occupants’ visual appraisal and visual 3 How long have you been occupying this office work space?
discomfort. The lack of relation between these four aspects sug-
gests the need for a holistic sustainable approach of credits related
(Less than 2 months, More than 2 months)
to daylighting.
As previous literature has suggested, DF is merely a metric to
justify the daylight performance. However, an office space with 4 What is the type of work space you are using currently?
184 G.-H. Lim et al. / Energy and Buildings 141 (2017) 175–185

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