The setting for the benefits of natural light is making progress. Since 2005, the manufacturer of skylights, roof windows, shading products, and thermal solar collectors has sponsored the biennial symposium. The previous four symposiums have focused on the science of daylighting, energy consumption, and the effects of daylight on health, education, and productivity.

The theme of this year’s symposium, New Eyes on Existing Buildings, was chosen because the majority of the existing building stock will remain in use for decades, says Per Arnold Andersen, head of Velux’s Knowledge Centre for Daylight, Energy, and Indoor Climate. This makes it “obsolete to look at the future building stock as something new,” he says. “Instead, we should realize that tomorrow’s buildings have already been built.”

In his opening remarks, Andersen challenged attendees to find ways to disseminate the issues and research presented at the event to a “viable audience.” In a room filled with daylight proponents, several presenters alluded to working with decision- and policy-makers who are unaware, skeptical, or indifferent to daylighting’s effect on human well-being. Presenter Martine Knoop, for one, said that she hopes to counter the ideas of people who want to reduce building window sizes in favor of increasing the insulation value of walls, and who believe that LEDs will usurp the need for daylight.

Per Arnold Andersen welcomes the 300 participants in the Fifth Velux Daylight Symposium at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture in Copenhagen.
Jakob Boserup / Courtesy Velux Per Arnold Andersen welcomes the 300 participants in the Fifth Velux Daylight Symposium at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture in Copenhagen.

Moderated by Marilyne Andersen, an associate professor in sustainable construction technologies at EPFL in Switzerland, and Werner Osterhaus, an architect and professor of lighting design research at Aarhus University in Denmark, the symposium expanded beyond daylight in existing buildings in the individual presentations as well as the group question-and-answer sessions.

From detailed project studies to a review of research and technologies to impassioned pleas for more involvement from the design community, the speakers discussed the role of daylight in health, education, productivity, and livelihood. A full program along with links to speaker presentations is available on Velux’s recently relaunched site, thedaylightsite.com.