(pronounced LIT shelvz)
When you first see this term, you may imagine thin, weightless ledges hanging on your walls to display your toy ray gun or Hummel collection. Well, you would be wrong. This kind of light shelf is a horizontal element – attached either to a building’s exterior or within its interior (or both) – that is placed underneath a transom window and above eye level. When daylighting interiors, they allow designers to take advantage of natural sunlight via reflectivity. The more reflective and mirror-like the upper surfaces of light shelves are, the more efficient they will be in drawing sunlight into a structure. They can also prevent unwelcome, direct sunlight (an annoying source of glare) for the building’s occupants, as well as reduce the amount of heat that enters a space, lowering cooling costs for the building’s owner.