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Student and worker performance has been shown to share a correlation with access to natural sources of lighting (Heschong, 2002). Natural lighting also provides environmental benefits through the reduction of a building’s energy dependence (Ihm, P., Nemri, A., Krarti, M., 2008). Lower-level classrooms are particularly troublesome to daylight because skylight strategies are unavailable and relying on exterior glazing increases solar heat gain as well as increased envelope costs. Lightwells offer a potential solution for daylighting without the costs associated with traditional solutions. A lightwell is a vertical shaft extending from an opening in the roof structure to lower level rooms. The main design distinction between a lightwell and a skylight is the method of transmittance. Skylights provide direct sunlight while the lightwell has a highly reflective interior surface material that allows light entering from the roof opening to reflect down providing diffuse light into the space below. Lightwells with horizontal openings are more efficient in bringing in light in than vertical or slanted openings (Bouchet B., Fontoynont M., 1996). This research, in coordination with Thomas Hacker Architects (THA), explores various configurations of lightwell design to maximize daylighting in the proposed classroom building on the Oregon Episcopal School campus. The proposed building design is two levels with an allotted 950ft of useable floor plan in lower level classrooms. The structural allowance for lightwell shafts is limited to 50ft. Ceiling height is limited to 12-½ft. This research focuses on the southern classrooms.
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