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Daylight for Better Apartments

In December of 2015 the Better Apartments discussion paper findings were released. The project, a joint initiative of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect, sought to kick start a state-wide conversation with the community, government and industry to help shape potential future apartment design guidelines and mechanisms. Discussion paper and associated reading

Image source: The State of Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning - Better Apartments Public Engagement Summary December 2015

Interestingly, daylight topped the list of the 14 topics surveyed as the most important issue. Indeed, daylight is a topical issue, as evidenced by the increasing necessity for daylight modelling to be conducted on multi-residential projects. However, among building industry professionals daylight modelling and the default Victorian daylight benchmark, the Daylight Factor (and its limitations) are barely understood. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see that the discussion has begun and it creates an opportunity to promote knowledge and understanding on issues surrounding daylight amenity.

Moving forward we see increasing evidence for moving away from the Daylight Factor benchmark and towards Climate Based Metrics (CBM) for assessing daylight. CBM’s provide a more robust approach and can be applied at varying scales. We see urban daylight modelling as a fantastic opportunity to extend the conversation beyond individual buildings to precincts. Our current research in this area shows that there is an evidence-based approach to addressing daylight issues at a precinct scale and that it can be dovetailed into the development of typological based controls to address a number of key daylight amenity issues that consistently arise for councils, developers and building users.

We look forward to continuing the conversation and commend the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect for demonstrating leadership towards more liveable apartments.

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