Whilst approved at the end of last year, the new daylighting standard is slowly being adopted by the 34 countries within the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). Only Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway have published their guidance on the new standard so far. In the UK, the standard will completely or partially replace the current guidance contained in BS8206.
With staggered implementation, developers, investors and architects working on portfolios across Europe will need to pay greater attention to which countries have adopted the new standard and which are yet to do so, as well as understand the differences in guidance by country. Failure to do so could have a knock-on impact on the work of the building designers, engineers, project managers and manufacturers, potentially increasing the length of the project and driving up costs, or affecting asset value.
What does the new standard mean?
The European daylighting standard – EN 17037 – encourages building designers to assess and ensure minimum standards for daylight are met for spaces that are regularly occupied by people for extended periods. It provides a single reference method of measurement and good practice across Europe, which currently doesn’t exist. For example, in the UK there is the BRE guide, whilst in Spain there is no daylighting standard.
The new standard outlines minimum recommendations for a set of four daylight indicators: daylight provision, the view out from a space, the exposure to sunlight and protection from glare. For a space, to be considered as day lit, the minimum target values must be reached for each indicator.
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the BRE have been tasked with proposing a National Annex which would set alternative target values and methodologies to apply in the UK.
Embracing the changes
The buildings we work and live in need to be fit for purpose and should promote healthy wellbeing. Access to natural light is a core element of this and the implementation of this European daylighting standard puts daylight back at the centre of building design. By having a uniform approach across Europe, developers, owners and occupiers are clear on what is expected and that can only be a good thing.
However, as with the implementation of all new practices, there are sure to be some teething issues. It will take time for the various parties involved in building design and construction to get to grips with what the new standards are. We have been gearing up for the changes by implementing new software and expertise to be able to undertake the assessments required, as well as provide the requisite advice reports to assist designers and clients in the UK and across Europe to meet the new standards.