A validation of a ray-tracing tool used to generate bi-directional scattering distribution functions for complex fenestration systems

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Journal Article

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Fenestration attachments are anticipated to produce significant reductions in building energy use because they can be deployed quickly at low-cost. New software tools enable users to assess the building energy impacts of optically complex fenestration systems (CFS) such as shades, Venetian blinds, or daylighting systems. However, such tools require users to provide bi-directional scattering distribution function (BSDF) data that describe the solar-optical performance of the CFS. A free, open-source Radiance tool genBSDF enables users to generate BSDF data for arbitrary CFS. Prior to genBSDF, BSDF data for arbitrary fenestration systems could only be produced using either expensive software or with expensive equipment. genBSDF outputs CFS data in the Window 6 XML file format and so can be used with CFS-enabled software tools to model multi-layered window systems composed of glazing and shading layers.

We explain the basis and use of the genBSDF tool and validate the tool by comparing results for four different cases to BSDF data produced via alternate methods. This validation demonstrates that BSDFs created with genBSDF are comparable to BSDFs generated analytically using TracePro and by measurement with a scanning goniophotometer. This tool is expected to support accelerated adoption of fenestration attachments and daylighting technologies.


Solar Energy



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