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July 1, 2022

Biophilic Photobiological Adaptive Envelopes for Sub-Arctic Buildings: Exploring Impacts of Window Sizes and Shading Panels’ Color, Reflectance, and Configuration

Parsaee, Mojtaba; Demers, Claude M. H.; Potvin, Andre; Lalonde, Jean-Francois; Inanici, Mehlika; Hebert, Marc. (2021). Biophilic Photobiological Adaptive Envelopes for Sub-Arctic Buildings: Exploring Impacts of Window Sizes and Shading Panels’ Color, Reflectance, and Configuration. Solar Energy, 220, 802 – 827.

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Northern building envelopes must provide efficient indoor-outdoor connections based on photobiologicalpsychological needs of occupants for positive relationships with the sub-Arctic nature, particularly daylighting and day/night cycles. Envelope configurations of Northern Canada's buildings have not yet considered such requirements. Potentials of adaptive systems are also still limited. This research develops a fundamental model of adaptive multi-skin envelopes for sub-Arctic buildings based on main biophilic and photobiological indicators which characterize efficient indoor-outdoor connections. Biophilic indicators characterize the state of connections among occupants and outdoors which could stimulate biological-psychological responses. Photobiological indicators determine human-centric lighting adaptation scenarios for hourly lighting qualities and sufficient darkness in relation to local day/night cycles and daylighting. Biophilic performance of the proposed envelope was evaluated through 18 numerical models in terms of impacts of window and shading sizes on occupants' field of views. Photobiological lighting performance was evaluated by experimental methods using 23 physical models at 1:10 scale. Surface characteristics of dynamic shading panels, including color, reflectance, orientation, and inclination, were studied for potential photobiological impacts in terms of melanopic/photopic ratios and color temperatures. Results show that the proposed envelope could (i) offer acceptable direct visual connections with the outdoor nature through efficient window sizes for biophilia, and (ii) modify daylighting qualities to address hourly/seasonal photobiological needs of sub-Arctic occupants. Challenges of the proposed envelope to implement under sub-Arctic climatic conditions are underlined especially in terms of energy issues. The research outcomes help architects and decision-makers to improve occupants' wellbeing and healthy buildings in subArctic climates.


Window Shades; Building Envelopes; Reflectance; Color Temperature; Daylighting; Building-integrated Photovoltaic Systems; Daylight; Outdoor Living Spaces; Canada; Adaptive Envelope; Arctic Climate; Biophilic Design; Healthy Building; Photobiological Lighting; Light; Exposure; Stress; Design; Architecture; Sensitivity; Illuminance; Environment; Melatonin; Recovery; Surface Properties; Performance Evaluation; Indicators; Polar Environments; Lighting; Shading; Darkness; Decision Making; Envelopes; Configurations; Buildings; Color; Adaptive Systems; Climatic Conditions; Numerical Models; Mathematical Models; Panels; Night; Climate; Orientation; Arctic Region