Goniophotometry and assessment of bidirectional photometric properties of complex fenestration systems
This paper seeks to provide an overview of the currently available assessment tools for bidirectional transmission or reflection distribution functions (BTDFs and BRDFs) of complex fenestration systems (CFS). In the first part of the paper, the existing experimental devices (goniophotometers) developed specifically for CFS measurement are described. All but two are based on a scanning process to investigate the emerging light flux distribution, the alternative approach being based on digital imaging techniques. A critical analysis of their advantages and shortcomings is proposed to provide both researchers interested in replicating them and more generally potential users of BTDF or BRDF data with a lucid idea of the available options. The second part presents an alternative to physical measurements, made possible by using computer simulations based on ray-tracing techniques. In this case, every component of the modelled system must be of well-known geometric and material properties. Two virtual goniophotometer models are described and their validation results are analyzed. Whether they have been generated experimentally or through simulation, BTDF and BRDF data need to be processed into transmission or reflection functions that are directly related to sky and room conditions for them to be usable. The third part of the paper introduces a new BT(R)DF database management system whose aim is to become a reference resource for viewing and interpreting these complex data. The main visualization features of its interface are presented, that include a special focus on flexibility and on providing intuitive graphical information, in a similar way as for luminaires selection in electric lighting design.