The Effect of Venetian Blinds on Daylight Photoelectric Control Performance

TitleThe Effect of Venetian Blinds on Daylight Photoelectric Control Performance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsEleanor S. Lee, Dennis L. DiBartolomeo, Stephen E. Selkowitz
JournalJournal of the Illuminating Engineering Society
Call NumberLBNL-40867

We investigate how a venetian blind, a common but optically complex fenestration system, contributes to the unreliable performance of daylighting control systems. Using a fully instrumented, full-scale testbed facility, we monitored the daylighting performance of a modified closed-loop proportional photoelectric control system in a private office over the course of a year. The ratio of workplane illuminance from daylight to photosensor signal is characterized in terms of solar condition and venetian blind angle. Variations in this ratio causes actual illuminance levels to be periodically insufficient. This type of characterization can be used by the installer to determine whether the initial control adjustments made during commissioning will lead to reliable performance under most daylight conditions. Commissioning guidelines are given with caution, based on our observations from this specific case study.

We quantified the effect of variability in this ratio on control performance. With a middle-of-the-road gain constant, monitored workplane illuminance levels did not fall below 90% of the design setpoint for 91% of the year. When discrepancies occurred, differences between the daylight correlation and measured conditions were the primary cause of insufficient illuminance at the workplane. This performance is not applicable to commercially-available closed-loop proportional systems because 1) typical systems are rarely commissioned properly upon installation, and 2) off-the-shelf systems combine the photosensor's response to daylight and electric light into one gain parameter. Even though the prototype system was subject to the same discrepancies in the daylight correlation fit as commercially-available systems, performance was substantially improved because the prototype was able to separate the electric lighting contribution to workplane illuminance from the daylighting contribution, at no added cost. Commissioning should accommodate the effect of the fenestration system, since variations in luminance distributions produced by the window are the primary cause of unreliable performance.

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