This study examines the daylight and energy performance of 27 external shading scenarios in a high-rise residential building in the urban tropics. The cooling energy, daytime lighting energy and the spatial daylight autonomy (sDA) of the building model were simulated in Rhino3D and Grasshopper simulation software. The best performance scenario (vertical and horizontal shading on the twentieth floor, horizontal shading only for the eleventh floor and no shading for the second floor) satisfied 75 sDA (300lx|50) with corresponding annual enery performance of 16%–20% in the cardinal directions. The baseline scenario, which is the current practice of providing balconies on all floors, reduced daylight to less than 75 sDA on the eleventh and second floor, even though it had higher annual enery performance (19%–24%) than the best performance scenario. Application of the design principles to a case study indicated that 58% of the spaces had over 75 sDA for both Baseline and Best performance scenarios, while an increase in enery performance of 1%–3% was found in the Best performance scenario compared to the Baseline.