What is EN 17037?

Are there existing daylight design standards? When does EN 17037 come into force?

What is EN 17037?

The new European Standard EN 17037 deals with daylight in buildings. Published at the end of 2018, it is the first Europe-wide standard to deal exclusively with the design for, and provision of, daylight. EN 17037 replaces a patchwork of standards across different European countries or provides one where no existing standard is present.

Daylight is important for the health and wellbeing of building users, for providing sufficient illumination to carry out tasks, and for giving a connection with the outdoors. Providing appropriate levels of daylight also helps in saving energy, by not having to rely on artificial lighting as often. All of these factors have driven EN 17037’s publication.

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Are there existing daylight design standards?

BS 8206-2:2008 is the code of practice for daylighting. As it is a British Standard, it applies to the UK only and gives recommendations for daylight design in buildings, including how electric lighting can be designed when used in conjunction with daylight.

EN 17037 deals exclusively with daylight and includes other methods of calculation for design parameters that do not feature in BS 8206-2. 

Some existing European Standards include daylight as a factor - for example, EN 12464-1 and EN 15193 - however, both of these also look at it in the context of electric lighting provision, and so EN 17037 is truly unique in focusing on the quantity and quality of daylight for building users.

When does EN 17037 come into force?

As a European Standard, adoption of EN 17037 across member countries will be staggered, depending when it is incorporated into national standard frameworks. Standards bodies in each country must produce a national annex (NA), detailing local information that helps with applying the recommendations of the standard in the specific country.

In the UK, it will become effective by the end of 2019, and any conflicting national standard has to be withdrawn by mid-2019 - this is expected to include BS 8206-2.

In the short term, variations in adoption at the national level could mean confusion for anybody working on projects in different countries. They could find themselves applying the standard on one project, but not on another. In the long term, of course, the benefit will be that the requirements can be consistently applied.

Even where designers and specifiers are only working in the UK market, it will still take time to get fully up to speed with the requirements of the new standard. VELUX Commercial have spent time understanding the calculation methods detailed in EN 17037 in relation to rooflights, and are on hand to provide technical support and answer any questions about how our products can improve daylighting in your commercial project.

For more information about the content of the standard, check out our post ‘What areas of daylighting design are covered by EN 17037?