Paper Conference

2020 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild co-organized by ASHRAE and IBPSA-USA


A Framework to Simulate the Non-Visual Effects of Daylight on the Cognitive Health of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) People

Nourhan Elsayed, Tarek Rakha
School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

Abstract: Human health and well-being concerns have been recently brought to the forefront of building performance assessment through contemporary practices of sustainability design. Mental health challenges in aging populations require an increased awareness in design practice to improve the lives of individuals that suffer from such experiences, as well as their caretakers. Within the bounds of sustainability, daylighting plays a critical role in human well-being, specifically non-visual effects such as regulating circadian health, which contributes to alertness and sleep cycles of healthy individuals. Interior spatial investigations have been developed through simulation-based workflows, including modeling tools such as Adaptive Lighting for Alertness (ALFA) (Solemma, 2019). However, such tools typically don't address challenges in vulnerable communities, such as people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Insufficiency of research that focuses specifically on such MCI and elderly experiences necessitate additional efforts from designers to understand and create built environments that empower their lives. In this paper, a critical review of human cognitive health and its relationship to daylighting is presented. The research establishes the link between simulating the non-visual effects of daylighting using DIVA for Rhino, Climate Studio, and ALFA in relationship to MCI individuals and enhancing their cognitive health in indoor environments. This research aims to demonstrate design solutions that could empower MCI patients by informing the design of spaces that specifically promotes their health and wellbeing. Finally, the paper presents a case study that showcases simulation techniques that focus on daylighting and health modeling for this vulnerable population, with recommendations for future work validation by deploying an ecologically valid experimental design.
Pages: 119 - 129