The achievement of sustainable cities and communities is closely linked to an accurate design of the buildings. In this context, the transparent elements of the building envelope have a crucial role since, on one hand, they are a bottleneck in regards to heat and mass transfers and sound propagation, while, on the other hand, they must allow daylight penetration. Thus, they are responsible for occupants’ thermal and visual comfort and their health. Considering passive solutions for windows, the light shelves can improve natural light penetration, reducing the lights’ electricity demand and controlling windows’ related thermal aspects. The scientific literature is characterized by several studies that analyze this topic, which, however, focus only on the daylight field and sometimes the energy saving for lights. Moreover, they often refer to fixed sky type for the simulations. The aim of the present study is to analyze the application of the light shelves with a multi-disciplinary approach, by means of dynamic simulations, in the EnergyPlus engine, for a whole year. A new methodological approach is presented in order to investigate the technology under different fields of interest: daylight, lighting energy, cooling and heating needs, and thermo-hygrometric comfort. The case study chosen is an existing building, a student dormitory belonging to the University of Athens. It is subject to a deep energy renovation to conform to the “nearly Zero Energy Building” target, in the frame of a European research project called Pro-GET-onE (G.A No. 723747). By means of the calibrated numerical model of this HVAC-building system, ten different configurations of light shelves have been investigated. The best solution is given by the application of an internal horizontal light shelf placed at 50 cm from the top of the window with a depth of 90 or 60 cm. It has been found that despite the reduction in electricity demand for lighting, the variation in heating and cooling needs does not always lead to a benefit.
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