A Room with a View: Simulating Daylight and Outdoor Space in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings with Balconies – IBPSA-USA Research Committee

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Long Description

This video is free to view for everyone. Multi-unit residential buildings (MURB) represent more than one half of the new housing built in the USA and Canada. Inhabitant quality of life is a major issue, as units are often small, single aspect, with deep floorplates and balconies that shades the living spaces within and below. There are no established metrics or methods specifically aimed to aid in daylighting design or balcony design for MURB. New early stage climate-based daylighting modeling (CBDM) tools allow designers to predict daylight performance in buildings. These tools were developed with offices in mind, and the usual simulation inputs designers use to predict performance in these simulations have underlying assumptions such as “work” hours, a focus on productivity and minimum sufficient lighting for a task, that make them difficult to adopt for MURB.  In this talk, Peters will briefly identify key building performance and liveability challenges in contemporary MURB design, summarize the results of novel simulation based research on the influence of balcony typologies on daylighting, present current work on the development of design guidelines for daylight, balcony design, and elaborate on new directions for simulation and design for liveability in MURB.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of this session, attendees will be able to:

  1. Identify three challenges to inhabitant quality of life in the MURB housing typology
  2. Describe how balcony design impacts building performance
  3. Explain which of the three balcony arrangements evaluated performs better from a daylight perspective
  4. Describe why using simulation inputs, parameters, and metrics developed for offices is inadequate for evaluating housing


Dr. Terri Peters is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architectural Science, at Ryerson University in Toronto Canada. Dr. Peters is a registered architect in the UK, WELL AP, and holds a PhD in architecture focused on design strategies and evaluation of sustainable renovations to multi-unit residential buildings (MURB). Her research area is sustainable building performance and the relationship to design quality, occupant experience, and human health and wellbeing. She has funded research projects in daylight simulation, urban housing morphology, and biophilic design. She is co-author of “MURB Design Guide v2” (with Dr. Ted Kesik and Dr. Liam O’Brien 2019), co-author of “Computing the Environment: Digital Design Tools for Simulation and Visualization of Sustainable Architecture” (with Dr. Brady Peters, Wiley 2018) and editor of “Design for Health: Sustainable Approaches to Therapeutic Architecture” (Wiley 2017).

daylight simulation, multi-unit buildings, residential buildings, balconies, multi-unit residential buildings, MURB