Research Output

Daylighting performance of tubular solar light pipes: measurement, modelling and validation.

  The innovation of natural daylighting light pipe took place more than twenty years ago. Since then its
daylighting performance has been reported in a number of studies. To date, however, no mathematical
method that includes the effect of straight-run and bends within light pipes has been made available.
Therefore, a generalm athematicalm odel for light pipes is desirablet o assessa nd predict its daylighting
performance.F urthermore,s uch a generalm odel can enablet he assessmenot f light pipe system's
efficiency and potential in energy saving.
A modified form of daylight factor, Daylight Penetration Factor (DPF), has been introduced to build a
sophisticated model that takes account of the effect of both internal and external environmental factors,
and light pipe configuration. Measurementsa nd mathematicalm odelling activities aimed at predicting
the daylighting performance of light pipes with various configurations under all weather conditions in
the UK were undertaken. A general daylighting performance model, namely DPF model, for light pipes
was developed and validated. The model enables estimation of daylight provision of the light pipes
with a high degree of accuracy, i. e. R2 values of 0.95 and 0.97 for regression between predicted and
measured illuminance were respectively obtained for the above model.
The DPF model uses the most routinely measured radiation data, i. e. the global illuminance as input.
Considering that in real applications, light pipes installed in a particular building may not receive the
full amount of global illuminance as measured by local meteorological office. This may be due to
partial shading of the light pipe top collector dome. Therefore, to enable the application of the DPF
model in practical exercisesf undamentalw ork on sky diffuse illuminance measurementsh ave been
An exhaustive validation has been carried out to examine the DPF model in terms of the structure of
the model and its performance. The DPF model was compared against studies by other independent
researchersin the field. Independentd ata setsg atheredf rom a separates ite were used to validate the
performance of the DPF model. Comprehensive statistical methods have been applied during the course
of validation. Relevant, brief economic and environmental impact of the technology under discussion
has also been undertaken.
One of the main achievementso f this work is the mathematicalm ethod developedt o evaluatet he
daylighting performance of light pipes. T'he other main achievement of this work is the development
and validation of the DPF models for predicting light pipes' daylighting performance.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 2002

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    TH Building construction


Zhang, X. Daylighting performance of tubular solar light pipes: measurement, modelling and validation. (Thesis)


Daylight penetration factor; solar energy; environmental engineering; environment protection; applied mathematics;

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