SPOT Support

SPOT Users forum

The SPOT Pro user forum is a discussion board for all things related to the software: questions and answers, bug fixes, software updates, and general discussion related to SPOT Pro™ or SPOT™, daylighting and photosensor control systems.

URL: http://groups.google.com/group/spot-users

Email: spot-users@googlegroups.com

Technical Support & Software Feedback E-mail

To directly contact the developers of SPOT Pro™, use the following link. Please make use of the SPOT forum as a first resort, the user forum postings are recieved by the developers as well.

SPOT support

SPOT Pro Webinars and Presentations

Several webinars and presentations were given throughout 2015 and 2016 to showcase the features and functionality of SPOT Pro™.  E-mail SPOT support to schedule a personal webinar or webinar for your company.

5/4/2015 - 2-5PM EDT - Finding the Sweet SPOT - LightFair 2015 Electric lighting and Daylighting group presentation.

6/8/2015 - 10-11AM MDT - SPOT Pro Intro Webinar - View the webinar here.

8/18/2015 - 9:45-10AM EDT - SPOT Pro Updates and Case Studies - Given at the 2015 Radiance Conference.

9/4/2015 - 10-11AM MDT - Daylighting Analysis with the New SPOT Pro - Hosted by and available at Performance Network.

9/25/2015 - 4-6PM MDT - AIA Denver Cocktails - Group presentation on Daylighting.

4/26/2016 - 9-12pm PDT - LightFair 2016 - SPOT Daylighting and Electric Lighting Analysis workshop

5/7/2017 - 9-5pm EDT - LightFair 2017 - SPOT Daylighting and Electric Lighting Analysis workshop

Other webinars coming soon....

Technical Information

The following technical information is available explaining the use of the software and documentation of background studies and algorithm development.

  • SPOT Pro Users Manual - click to visit the online manual for SPOT Pro™ v5.2.
  • SPOT v4.2 Users Manual - pdf format (4 MB) that provides an overview of the tool, general notes and issues, and a detailed description of each screen, including the available input fields and results.
  • Daylight Autonomy Report - pdf document that provides a discussion of daylighting metric development using daylight autonomy calculations in SPOT Pro™.
  • Photosensors - Specifier Report on dimming and switching systems for daylight harvesting.  Developed by the Lighting Research Center and implemented in SPOT.
  • SPOT 2010 Training Presentation - workshop presentation illustrating the use of SPOT with several case studies.
  • Sweet SPOT for Daylighting - technical brief by E Source, prepared for the California Energy Commission.
  • Case study - html pages showing test classroom with south and east windows with shades and translucent north windows (2 electric lighting zones)
  • Software release notes - bug fixes and version release information.
  • coming soon....SPOT Development Report - Documentation of the background algorithms and modules used in SPOT.
  • coming soon....SPOT Annual Simulation Validation - Report comparing SPOT with DAYSIM and other annual daylight simulation tools

Frequently Asked Questions - SPOT v4.2 and older

What is SPOT™?

SPOT™ stands for Sensor Placement + Optimization Tool. It is a software package that helps architects, engineers, lighting designers and electrical contractors establish the correct photosensor placement relative to the proposed daylighting and electric lighting design and to analyze overall daylighting and lighting design performance. SPOT™ was developed for designers, design engineers, building scientists, contractors, facilities managers, and commissioning agents to provide a relatively simple way to test and evaluate the selection and placement of a photosensor(s) during design in order to promote optimal daylight harvesting, increased energy savings, and higher occupant satisfaction in the built space.

What systems are best for SPOT™ to properly run?

  • SPOT 4.2 will run smoothly and completely with Excel versions 2007 and 2010. This version 4.2 and future versions will not run on Excel 2003. SPOT v4.0 will run on Excel 2003.
  • Windows XP, Windows 7 (32bit), and Windows 7 (64bit) are the tested platforms. 

How does SPOT™ work and what programs will be installed on my computer with the install package?

SPOT™ basically runs as an Excel interface on top of a Radiance engine using Python as the scripting language. SPOT’s install package includes:
SPOT™ Excel Template
An abridged version of Radiance for Windows 
Python v 2.3 (v4.0 and older only)
Numarray (a matrix module to Python) (v4.0 and older only)

Do I need to know Excel or Radiance to use SPOT™?

No. A working familiarity with Excel may be helpful, but it is not necessary. Radiance will be largely invisible to the majority of users, and only runs behind the Excel interface. Advanced Radiance users may use the “Advanced Options” page to interact with Radiance through the Excel interface or directly by manipulating the Radiance files, but this is NOT required in the execution of SPOT™ and is not recommended unless you are a skilled Radiance user.

Where does SPOT™ save my work?

SPOT™ automatically creates a file with your project information when you advance the project with the button. It saves the project information in a folder automatically named with the Project Name. This folder is located in the “Parent Directory” that the user establishes on the opening page of SPOT™. After launching SPOT™ it is necessary, as with most programs, for the user to periodically (frequently) save his or her work using the save icon, or “save” from the pull down menu to insure no information is lost. 

What are all the numerous files created by SPOT™ and do I need to save them?

These files are support files created by Radiance. They store the inputs used by SPOT™ to run the calculations. Should you delete these files you will need to re-start a project from the beginning so that these files are recreated.

What are “Radiance Advanced Options” and should I use them?

The default SPOT™ settings have been optimized to minimize the run-time (calculation time) of the program. The Advanced Radiance Options allows the experienced Radiance user to manipulate the default settings in Radiance if he or she desires to refine a particular setting for advanced study. This page is intended for people familiar with Radiance and its methodology. However, others are welcome to experiment with the settings to learn more about the influence of various inputs on the results. Be aware, that changing the settings may increase run-time and decrease the accuracy of the results.

What are average run-times for SPOT™?

This depends upon on the computer system on which SPOT™ is running. On newer machines, typical run-time may be 20 to 30 minutes, the majority of which will occur for the final calculations performed between the Photosensor Generator page and the Photosensor Analyzer page. 

What geometrical inputs are allowable for my space?

SPOT™ builds the geometry for the user based on the numeric information input into the Excel interface. Currently, the interface creates orthogonal geometries and can accommodate windows, skylights, and interior and exterior lightselves.

Can I input a geometry directly from Autocad, Revit of Sketchup?

No, SPOT™ cannot currently perform this function.  Future versions will include some importing functionality.

How will the results be presented and will SPOT™ create an image of my space?

Results will be created in Excel tables and graphs formats, which the user can either print or copy and paste into other reports. A Radiance image will be created of the space modeled and will be saved as a .jpeg in the project directory.

Can I model more than one space at a time?

No, SPOT™ is designed to analyze a single space in isolation.

Is there any technical support provided for SPOT™?

Send an e-mail to Spot Support.