Mixed-Dimensionality Approach for Advanced Ray Tracing of Lamellar Structures for Daylighting and Thermal Control
The appropriate choice of the type of glazing and glazed area in a façade depends on many factors. They include amongst other criteria: location, orientation, climatic condition, energetic efficiency, usage of the building, required user comfort, and the architectural concept. All requirements cannot be fulfilled at all times and priorities have to be set to find a compromise between occupant comfort, design objective, cost and energetic efficiency. An innovative glazing system combining daylighting, glare protection, seasonal thermal control and clear view was developed  and patented by the authors. This design was developed using a novel ray tracing approach to obtain a strongly angular dependent transmission with specific angular distribution. Taking advantage of the changing elevation of the sun between seasons, a seasonal variation is created by a strongly angular dependent transmittance. In this paper we present the mixed dimensionality approach used to achieve a very fast and accurate ray tracing of any lamellar structure that has a two dimensional profile. The originality of the presented Monte Carlo algorithm is the separation of intersection and interaction. Intersections are computed using only the two dimensions of the profile thereby increasing significantly computational speed. Interactions are computed using vector calculus in three dimensions and provide accurate results with very little computational load. With such optimizations, the user interface could be designed to give an instantaneous idea of the light path in the modelled system. The model also calculates an accurate bidirectional transmittance distribution function that is used in a Radiance simulation to obtain a rendering of the daylighting distribution in an office space. Hereby we can compare the daylighting performances of the novel design based on optical microstructures with those of other CFSs. Finally the combination of simulated angular dependent transmittance and Meteonorm data provides an estimate of transmitted energy over the year and proves the efficiency of the presented optical microstructures for dynamic thermal control. The proposed working principles of redirection and angular dependent transmittance are thereby demonstrated. The software provides all the mentioned results in the user interface where the performances of different designs can also be compared, making the optimization process of a profile with a defined objective very intuitive.