Daylighting Education


LEED and Solera®

Until recently, the lack of appropriate materials has made it exceedingly difficult to design high-performance buildings with translucent glazing in vertical applications. Most translucent glazings were some form of plastic, unsuitable for use in curtain walls. Solera® offers, for the first time, the ability to create innovative designs for high-performance buildings with vertical translucent glazings that meet the highest aesthetic and performance requirements.

Solera® is a high-performance insulated translucent glazing. Used in window, clerestory, and curtain wall applications, it fills rooms with soft light while providing excellent thermal insulation. Unlike conventional translucent glazing materials, Solera® is glass and so has a very small environmental footprint.

Sustainable Sites/Light Pollution Reduction

One of Solera®’s many attributes is its ability to diffuse light — both incoming light during the daytime and outgoing light at night. In addition to the beacon effect that Solera® possesses at night, the light escaping a building can be considerably less than with vision glass, thereby reducing light pollution of the surrounding area.

Energy and Atmosphere/Renewable Energy (20%)

One of the prime opportunities for renewable energy utilization lies in Daylight Harvesting. Solera® makes daylight harvesting feasible by by enabling the daylight to penetrate deep into the space, something that clear glass is unable to do. Using a blue green glass in the product Solera® product configuration creates a "cool" daylight, reducing A/C loads.

Energy and Atmosphere/Optimize Energy Performance

Solera®’s exceptional thermal insulation (R5) and diffusion of incoming solar heat gain will reduce and often remove the need for perimeter heating or cooling. And with spectrally selective blue-green glass, Solera® will also reduce solar heat gain, thereby reducing the A/C load even more.

Solera® facilitates Daylight Harvesting to reduce the requirement for artificial lighting. Additionally, Solera®’s ability to deliver daylight to deeper space means that larger floor plates are possible. These have a lower ratio of perimeter to floor area, reducing operating costs for HVAC while meeting requirements for deep space access to daylight.

Materials & Resources/Regional Products

For projects in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, Solera® meets the requirements for local/regional product credit, with its manufacturing location in Nova Scotia, Canada. Employed in locally prefabricated glazing assemblies, Solera® will meet this criterion everywhere.

IAQ Low/Emitting Materials

Solera® is a low-emitting material. Unlike plastic or FRP translucent glazing materials, Solera®’s exterior surfaces are architectural glass. Solera® contains neither VOCs nor sealants, thereby fulfilling the requirements of both SCAQMD rule #1168 and the Bay High performance insulated translucent glazing units with the quality and permanence that comes only with glass.

Area Air Quality Management District Reg. 8, Rule 51.

Solera® also contains less than 0.001ppm of the EPA’s list of 17 chemicals targeted for reduction.

Thermal Comfort

With an R-factor up to R 25, Solera® dramatically reduces localized overheating or cooling problems encountered near windows with poorer thermal performance.

Daylighting & Views

Solera® diffuses light, thereby delivering it further into a building’s deep space. With appropriate building design, Solera® delivers soft daylight to the target 90% of user spaces. In combination with vision glass, users receive glare-free daylight while maintaining views.

Life Cycle

Solera® is glass. It represents a long-life alternative to conventional plastic-based translucent glazings. Conventional plastic glazings have typical, practical life spans of 10 to 20 years, limited by color change, scratching, cracking and, in the case of FRP products, degradation caused by delamination and fiber bloom. In contrast, Solera® achieves a usable lifespan of 60 to 100 years. This is a result of several factors:

  • Glass is used as the major environmentally-exposed material. Glass holds its appearance and physical properties for an indefinite period, and serves to protect underlying components from exposure to UV-B and UV-C.
  • The spacer system is made from anodized aluminum, which is protected from the elements by an architectural framing made from the same material. The spacer system has a very long lifetime in this configuration.
  • The other significant material component in the Solera® TGU is its’ acrylic-based honeycomb transparent insulation. Acrylic, like glass, is an inherently UV-stable material. It requires no UV stabilizers. In Solera®, the acrylic component is protected from UV exposure by glass, and will have an indefinite lifespan.
  • Use of ‘equilibrium moisture dynamics’: Standard non-diffusing air-spaced glass glazing units require that the cavity be kept at a low humidity and dewpoint to prevent internal condensation. In fact, in these systems, seal failure or ordinary through-seal diffusion will exhaust desiccant, at which point the IGU will likely have to be replaced. Solera® works on a completely different principle, called ‘equilibrium moisture dynamics’, and, when properly installed, will not accumulate internal moisture. With respect to maintenance, the exterior surfaces of Solera® units are glass and require no special attention other than glass cleaning.

LEED Documentation

Solera® Introduction: Architectural Daylighting

Solera® is a wide diffuser daylighting light redirecting glazing. It takes the daylight resource and redistributes the daylight deeply and uniformly into a space. It is a proven element of a successful daylighting system. It increases the daylighted area, and the daylight levels. Solera® plays an incremental role in some credits, and is the major contributor towards others. Solera® surpasses LEED requirements for daylighting and views in that it is able to achieve increased quality of daylighting. Solera® daylighting systems are also designed to function irrespective of shading systems and blinds (vision glass–based daylighting often are subject to post-occupancy changes which render the daylighting functionality ineffective).

Applicable Credits

The following credits are either directly or indirectly augmented by Solera® wide diffusion high performance glazing.

Energy and Atmosphere
EA Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance ⇣ click to expand

Intent Achieve increasing levels of energy performance above the baseline in the prerequisite standard to reduce environmental and economic impacts associated with excessive energy use. Requirements: Select one of the three compliance path options described below. Project teams documenting achievement using any of the three options are assumed to be in compliance with EA Prerequisite.

Application Solera® daylighting technology, when used with a photo sensor and electric lighting controls, provides the means of reducing electrical usage by turning off electric lights. The electric lighting controls provides optimal control and ensures maximum a means of documenting the electricity reduction of electricity usage Solera®’s wide diffusing capability increases daylighting effectiveness and thereby the number of lights that can be turned off. The diffuse illumination eliminates the high contrast between direct beam sunlight and shadow allowing proper photo sensor operation and appropriate dimming of electric lights.

Solera® can reduce HVAC loads by providing enhanced thermal insulation and controlling overall solar gain, and eliminating concentration of solar gain such as direct beam sunlight. Solera® Verification: Advanced Glazings Ltd. provides verification and documentation through Radiance lighting simulation. Verification of HVAC reduction can be determined by the R value (U-value) of Solera® T & S along with energy modeling. Elimination of direct sunlight can be demonstrated through Radiance Modeling.

EA Credit 5: Measurement & Verification ⇣ click to expand

Intent Provide for the ongoing accountability of building energy consumption over time.

Requirements Develop and implement a Measurement & Verification (M&V) Plan consistent with Option D: Calibrated Simulation (Savings Estimation Method 2), or Option B: Energy Conservation Measure Isolation, as specified in the International Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol (IPMVP) Volume III: Concepts and Options for Determining Energy Savings in New Construction, April, 2003. The M&V period shall cover a period of no less than one year of post-construction occupancy.

Solera® Application A Solera® daylighting system includes 1) a daylighting device that redirects daylight into a room above horizontal, 2) a photo sensor that measures the amount of light in the room, and 3) electric lighting controls that dim or shut off electric lights. The Solera® daylighting system increases the amount of light reaching the back of a room increasing the number of lights that can be turned off and also provides the means of measuring, recording, and verifying the energy savings of the system Solera® Verification: Advanced Glazings Ltd. provides verification and documentation through Radiance lighting simulation.

Indoor Environmental Quality
EQ Credit 6.1: Controllability of Systems: Lighting ⇣ click to expand

Intent Provide a comfortable thermal environment that supports the productivity and well-being of building occupants.

Requirements Design HVAC systems and the building envelope to meet the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 55-2004, Thermal Comfort Conditions for Human Occupancy. Demonstrate design compliance in accordance with the Section 6.1.1 Documentation.

Solera® Application Solera® can offer enhanced insulation values over conventional vision glass thereby contributing to thermal comfort through uniform interior surface temperature. In addition by uniformly distributing natural light, solar gain concentration such as direct beam sunlight is eliminated.

Solera® Verification HVAC reduction can be determined by the R value (U-value) of Solera® T & S along with energy modeling. Elimination of direct sunlight can be demonstrated through Radiance Modeling.

EQ Credit 8.1: Daylight & Views: Daylight 75% of Spaces ⇣ click to expand

Intent Provide for the building occupants a connection between indoor spaces and the outdoors through the introduction of daylight and views into the regularly occupied areas of the building.


Option 1 - Calculation
Achieve a minimum glazing factor of 2% in a minimum of 75% of all regularly occupied areas. The glazing factor is calculated as follows:
Glazing Window Area [SF] Window Actual Tvis Window Factor = Floor Area[SF]x Geometry Factor x Minimum Tvis x Height Factor
Option 2 – Simulation
Demonstrate, through computer simulation, that a minimum daylight illumination level of 25 foot-candles has been achieved in a minimum of 75% of all regularly occupied areas. Modeling must demonstrate 25 horizontal foot-candles under clear sky conditions, at noon, on the equinox, at 30 inches above the floor.
Option 3 – Measurement
Demonstrate, through records of indoor light measurements, that a minimum daylight illumination level of 25 foot-candles has been achieved in at least 75% of all regularly occupied areas. Measurements must be taken on a 10-foot grid for all occupied spaces and must be recorded on building floor plans. In all cases, only the square footage associated with the portions of rooms or spaces meeting the minimum illumination requirements can be applied towards the 75% of total area calculation required to qualify for this credit. In all cases, provide daylight redirection and/or glare control devices to avoid high-contrast situations that could impede visual tasks. Exceptions for areas where tasks would be hindered by the use of daylight will be considered on their merits.

Solera® Application A Solera® daylighting system captures the daylight resource and redistributes the daylight more uniformly deep into a space. In so doing it eliminates direct beam penetration through the diffusing glazing and glare. The deep reaching diffuse daylight makes it possible to achieve the required 25 foot candles in 75% of spaces in many more types of interior configurations than would otherwise be possible. We provide the verification and documentation needed to gain this credit through lighting simulation with accepted software.

Innovation and Design Process
ID Credit 1-1.4: Innovation in Design ⇣ click to expand

Intent To provide design teams and projects the opportunity to be awarded points for exceptional performance above the requirements set by the LEED-NC Green Building Rating System and/or innovative performance in Green Building categories not specifically addressed by the LEED-NC Green Building Rating System.

Requirements Credit 1.1 (1 point) In writing, identify the intent of the proposed innovation credit, the proposed requirement for compliance, the proposed submittals to demonstrate compliance, and the design approach (strategies) that might be used to meet the requirements.

Solera® Application There is no requirement in LEED that daylight be comfortable or meet the requirements of good lighting design. As a result, building occupants may modify the glazing system or operating parameters by obstructing glazed openings with blinds or shading devices, thereby rendering daylighting and view systems ineffective. Solera® daylighting systems can be designed to provide superior levels of thermal and visual comfort beyond the requirements of LEED NC, and are therefore much more likely to retained in functional form during actual operation of the building. A well designed Solera® System may be eligible for Innovation in Design credits, subject to building specifics.

Solera® Verification Advanced Glazings Ltd. provides verification and documentation through Radiance lighting simulation ID Credit 1–1.4: Innovation in Design (1–4 Pts)