Discomfort and Disability Glare in the Visual Environment

  • Richard Kittler
  • Miroslav Kocifaj
  • Stanislav Darula


It is important to understand recent lighting and fenestration history and its development. Before the era of on-tap electrical energy supply for lighting, when artificial lighting sources were inefficient, fenestration was used as a means of providing working illuminance in addition to its many other well-documented functions. Daylighting technology developed firstly from a need to ease natural light into buildings in order to illuminate tasks and interior spaces. High ceiling heights with tall windows were favored and roof lighting, to provide working illuminance, became extensively used in industrial premises. With the advent of the fluorescent lamp, and its rapid rise to prominence during the 1950s, buildings were freed from many configuration constraints and the use of fenestration, as a means of providing working illuminance, diminished. Within a further decade, artificial lighting levels soared, especially in the USA. Levels of 2,000 lux were not uncommon as the philosophy that more light is better propagated rapidly. Controversy abounded concurrently with these developments. One area of controversy was associated with the trend toward seemingly unnecessary ever higher interior illuminances. The lighting industry was blamed for producing a body of opinion which favored higher illuminance and, hence, higher financial returns to the industry. Then the 1970s energy crisis materialized. It was already known that the then popular deep office building, illuminated almost totally by artificial lighting, was a prime offender in the excess energy consumption league. The high lighting levels used in these buildings came under immediate attack, resulting in large-scale delamping, which resulted in widespread but scarcely acknowledged complaints about difficulties due to observed fenestration brightness.


Naive Subject Visual Discomfort Artificial Lighting Source Visual Comfort Luminous Environment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Kittler
    • 1
  • Miroslav Kocifaj
    • 1
  • Stanislav Darula
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Construction and Architecture Slovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia

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