Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Playing to sunlight's strengths

A couple ways to use direct solar energy to improve lighting systems.

The first is a hybrid system where the sunlight it brought to traditional lighting fixtures and the standard/fluorescent bulbs are adjusted to compensate for solar interruptions to provide consistent ambient lighting with lower energy bills. This system just looks cool and will probably be widely adopted for new construction if it delivers even a fraction of what it promises.

The second system is a combination skylight + solar tracker. In this case the skylight contains a system for reflecting (while tracking) added sunlight into the workspace. These solar tracking skylights are also integrated with the existing lighting fixtures to deliver consistent lighting by adjusting electric lights up or down as needed. While perhaps not as sexy as the hybrid system above, the solar-track can easily be integrated into an existing warehouse facility. In fact, I'd guess that many warehouse operations might prefer the solar track system assuming it works as advertised because of its simple intuitive design. In a lot of places high-tech may be interpreted as high-cost rightly or wrongly.

Either way, it is great to see new innovative ways of using solar power to offset fossil power.


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