Daylighting in built spaces has several benefits. It helps in reaching satisfactory levels of energy consumption by reducing the usage of artificial lighting. Furthermore, daylighting is also a major contributor in altering the visual comfort of occupants. Consequently, it boosts occupants’ concentration and productivity, which affects their performance in work tasks. However, an inadequately designed daylighting scheme leads to excessive solar heat gain, especially in hot and arid climates, increasing the temperature of interior spaces. In addition, due to the high solar altitudes in summer, the direct sunlight may fall right beneath the fenestration system and will not reach the depth of the space this phenomena is known as the “cave effect”. Many proposed designs of blinds, louvers, shades and low emitting glass panels, tackled the side effects of the summer sun; on the other hand, a few of the proposed solutions incorporated the use of recycled materials, for an added sustainable value. The aim of this thesis is to achieve a sustainable complex fenestration system (CFS) design that can diffuse and redirect the direct daylight component through an optimized pattern on its translucent layer. The CFS will comprise recycled plastic waste, which results from the conventional household waste. The recycled plastic waste will be used as a translucent material, with an optimized prismatic array design, to ensure adequate daylighting in hot climate desert areas. An optimization model for designing a prismatic panel is developed to meet the objective of minimizing sun light near the window and redistributing the sunlight to the depth of the space, while a ray tracing program is used to validate the developed model’s results. Furthermore, Radiance, a validated ray tracing simulation program, is used to produce accurate analysis with detailed hourly illuminance measurements throughout the year for the proposed CFS design using the five-phase method. Finally, a physical small scale model is developed to prove the viability of the CFS using three different recycled plastics, polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC) polypropylene (PP). The proposed design succeeded to improve the daylight performance by redirecting an average of 50% of the direct light to an upward direction, thus levelling the daylight within the room depth. The physical prototype exhibits great performance in the redirection of daylight into deep areas of the room especially at high solar altitudes. Polycarbonate proved to be the best of the three tested recycled plastic followed by the polystyrene, while polypropylene needs further research to develop a more feasible product.

Degree Name

MS in Sustainable Development

Graduation Date


Submission Date

July 2016

First Advisor

Nassar, Khaled

Committee Member 1

El-Haggar, Salah

Committee Member 2

Tarabieh, Khaled


111 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


First, I would like thank my advisors Dr. Khaled Nassar and Prof Salah El-Haggar for their tremendous effort in all the phases of my thesis. Dr. Khaled Nassar directed me and helped me to stay focused on the thesis topic, I attribute the level of my Master’s degree to his encouragement and effort. Prof. Salah El-Haggar greatly supported me in bringing my thesis work to live by allowing me to use the Waste Management lab and guided me patiently through my research until I managed to create a successful prototype. I would also like to thank my thesis examination board, Dr. Ahmed Fekry and Dr. Khaled Tarabieh who ,with their passionate participation and advice, ensured that my thesis work is well presented. I would also like to thank the AUC Waste Management lab associate Eng. Mohamed Saeed for his keen work and practical advice which helped in producing a physical prototype as a proof of concept for my thesis work. Moreover, I must express my deepest gratitude to my parents and family for providing me with unfailing support and encouragement throughout the period of research and writing this thesis. In particular, I would like to thank my sister Sarah for proof reading my thesis writing. Finally, I must profoundly express my gratitude to my wife and best friend, Yussra Rashed, without whose love, encouragement and editing assistance, I would not have finished this thesis. She has been my main source of motivation.