What Daylighting Systems Are Available On the Market Today?

By Torrin Greathouse | January 08, 2015

The market for daylighting systems is expanding. Technological advances paired with rising energy costs have prompted people to search for new and innovative lighting solutions that use free and natural sunlight instead of costly electrical light. Lighting designers and engineers have responded to the public’s need with an array of daylighting systems tailored for any building structure and interior.

Daylighting systems are varied. Designs range from passive to active, manual to automatic, electronic to solar-powered. To help you find out which daylighting system is right for your building, here are eight different systems available today:

Window Controls

  1. Self-shading glass, such as SageGlass, electronically controls the tint of the window and prevents glare and heat gain during peak hours without using shades that block the window’s view.
  2. Automated blinds mechanically controls the admittance of natural light and makes use of sensors to permit better control of illumination and heat gain when building occupants are away.
  3. Light shelves bounce a window’s direct light upward toward the ceiling, which in turn reflects it deeper into the interior of a room and protects workspaces from excessive heat and glare.

Pros: They can be installed in any room where windows will be installed or are already present.

Cons: Act as supplements, but does not entirely replace, electric light during the day.

Fiber Optics

  1. Fiber optic cables designed by Parans are attached to a  receiver box mounted on the outside of a building. The receiver box collects the sun’s light, which is then sent across as much as 20 meters of fiber optic solar cables so the sunlight can be distributed in an interior space.

Pros: Flexible solution for bringing natural light deep into a building’s interior.

Cons: Extensive and expensive installation that goes far through the structure of a building. Lighting levels  are sensitive to fluctuations in sunlight, yet to be proven as a reliable technology. 

Passive Skylights

  1. Traditional skylights allow the sunlight overhead to enter directly into a room.
  2. Prismatic skylights, such as those designed by Bristolite and SunOptics, use a special prism imprinted glaze coating on the acrylic or polycarbonate skylight material to maximize sunlight diffusion and improve aesthetic appeal of skylight lens.
  3. Tubular skylights, like those manufactured by Solatube, transmit overhead sunlight through highly reflective tubes and into a room where traditional skylights and windows cannot reach

Pros: Durable and aesthetically pleasing systems for residential, industrial, and commercial applications.

Cons: Does not produce light when the sun is low on the horizon or when the sun is behind clouds. Lighting levels fluctuate throughout the day. 

Active Skylights 

  1. Solar-tracking skylights, such as the Ciralight SunTracker, use solar-tracking technology to follow the sun with a set of mirrors and direct high levels of consistent diffused natural light into a building.

Pros: Can bring higher levels of light for longer hours a day, regardless of the location of the sun, beginning ten minutes after sunrise and continuing throughout the day until the sun sets

Cons: Designed for larger commercial and industrial applications only

With so many daylighting systems available on the market today, there is no excuse not to install one of these energy-saving, cost reducing technologies. If you want to learn more about the Ciralight SunTracker active daylighting solution, contact one of our sales representatives today.

 

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