Glare and Reflections

Quantifying buildings’ interaction with the sun to ensure efficiency, comfort and safety

Reflections from buildings have been blamed for blinding pilots, “melting” cars and even burning people. No design firm wants their next building to be known as a “death ray” or to create a safety hazard for vehicles or aircraft. However, reflections can also create other, less dramatic but equally consequential headaches.

3 images of glare and reflection from building facades

Glare and reflections can cause automated daylight controls to function poorly, create unforeseen visual nuisances and even increase cooling loads in neighboring buildings. When considering a project in context, it’s important think about not just how reflections from your building can affect your neighbors, but also how they can affect you. This step is particularly critical for multi-tower developments, where inter-tower effects can be significant and severe.

Our Service

We help you understand when, and how often direct and reflected sunlight can impact a space, either within or outside your project. With this information, you can move ahead with highly glazed façades, photovoltaic systems or other reflective building elements confident that you will not create issues for others or experience problems within your own buildings.

Our custom tool for simulating the sun, called Eclipse, gives fast and accurate estimates of glare impacts and risk potential. Testing shows that Eclipse provides high-quality engineering analysis faster than other comparable tools, and we continually benchmark it against real-world data. Eclipse results are accurate to the minute and include not only time and place but also, crucially, intensity. We can also pair these estimates with other services, such as specialized field measurements of existing glare impacts to provide additional context for our findings. Where mitigation is needed, we equip you with easy-to-use data that will help you envision, justify and correctly implement the appropriate changes to your building.

We are one of the most skilled and experienced firms working on quantifying and mitigating the impacts of glare. We’ve worked on dozens of projects around the world, from simple nuisance glare to potential “death-rays.” Our specialists have helped define criteria for reflected light and heat in the urban context, advised city planning teams on establishing glare criteria and regularly educate on the topic. We also have experience in forensically analyzing existing glare issues. This kind of analysis may include both onsite measurements and simulations to identify sources and mitigation solutions.