Daylight Utilization with Light Pipe in Farm Animal Production: A Simulation Approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Light pipes offer a passive way to bring daylight inside deep buildings, such as agricultural buildings. However, the lack of reliable performance predictability methods for light pipes represents a major obstacle preventing their widespread use. This paper evaluates a simulation approach for performance prediction and identifies key light pipe design parameters affecting their daylight transmission performance. The study was carried out through continuous monitoring of daylight in two full-scale, identical pig stables fitted with two light pipe systems, Solatube® and Velux®. The experiment included three continuously measuring sensors in each stable and an outdoor sensor during 2013 and 2014. A forward raytracing tool, TracePro®, was used for illuminance prediction and parametric simulations. The simulation results for overcast skies indicated discrepancies between the simulated and average measurement results below 30% in all cases. The discrepancies for clear skies were somewhat higher, i.e., below 30% for 67% of the cases. The higher discrepancies with clear skies were due to the overestimation of absolute sunlight levels and absence of an advanced and detailed optical characterization of the dome collector’s surface. The parametric results have shown that light pipes’ performance is better during summer time, in sunny climates, at low to mid-latitudes, which provides higher solar altitudes than during winter and cloudy climates at high latitudes. Methods to improve the luminous transmittance for low solar altitudes occurring in Scandinavia include: bending or tilting the pipe, increasing the aspect ratio, improving the pipe specular reflectance, tilting the collector to the south, and using optical redirecting system in the collector.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Animal and Dairy Science
  • Architectural Engineering


  • Light collector, Raytracing, Daylight simulation, Light pipe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalJournal of Daylighting
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch