Travis McDaniel, M.S. EIT, LEED Green Associate, Net Zero Systems Engineer
Point Energy Innovations
San Francisco, CA
1. What propelled you to look for a daylighting tool?
Point Energy Innovation's search for a daylighting tool was driven by our desire to be the premier engineering consultancy for sustainable building design. To achieve this we are fostering a new design paradigm that integrates best in class comfort, health, efficiency, and affordability. Lighting quality is a critical component of this new building standard, and LightStanza allows us to quantify and visualize parameters from glare to daylight autonomy in our designs.
2. Before LightStanza, what other daylighting/lighting software did you use?
As a newer firm we were hunting for software that met our goals. We had previously relied on our experience of what we knew to be qualitatively true, sometimes substantiated by daylighting plugins of a full featured energy modeling program or other standalones that utilized some functions of Radiance. We found these programs do well at a couple things, but we needed something that performed great at many things.
3. What hurdles or problems did you have with your previous software?
Not enough freedom to customize our designs or test all the variables we would like.
4. How did these issues affect your projects and business?
Point Energy Innovations strives to convey complex ideas to clients in a way that is relevant for their decisions. Other programs required us to present information with limitations. With LightStanza we can fully convey ideas in a style clients appreciate, namely through customized quantitative LightStanza results combined with verbal explanation and photos of past projects.
5. What made you decide to use LightStanza?
We heard of LightStanza from our industry partners, and after putting it through its paces on an actual project and receiving positive client feedback we decided it was the tool for us.
6. What was your experience when switching or getting started with LightStanza?
With any program there is a learning curve. But the well designed user interface allows users to familiarize themselves quickly. It was evident from early on a lot of thought had been put into the program and we are very pleased with the responsive customer support.
7. Can you describe one or two of LightStanza's features or functions you feel are most useful for your work?
Two of the most useful features are the Useful Daylight Illuminance plan views and three dimensional glare rendering. Both of these convey the important concept of occupant visual comfort that is so often overlooked. We know conceptually that occupants want daylighting without the discomfort of glare, but rarely are these thought about critically. The Point Energy Innovations team has always understood the client's incentive to provide, and designed for, excellent occupant visual comfort, and now LightStanza allows us to hone the ideal lighting strategy. To this end, numerical results presented in colorful and graphical form provide both client and designer quick initial understanding and detailed information at the same time.
8. How has LightStanza improved (or how do you see it improving) your projects and business?
LightStanza allows us to add another premier service to our repertoire. Point Energy Innovations is committed to better design by thinking about buildings as an integrated and interdependent whole as opposed to a collection of disjointed systems. As HVAC consultants we have a good handle on mechanical systems and efficiency, but visual and thermal comfort, occupant health, and affordability are equally important. Lighting is connected to occupant productivity and thermal comfort, as much as it is to HVAC system sizing and energy efficiency; this is why they deserve our attention and how LightStanza has improved our business.
9. Would you use LightStanza on future projects and/or recommend the tool to other architects or colleagues? If so, why?
Yes. We have committed to purchasing a license and hope to see the product grow even further as we use it on a majority of our projects.