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Natural Architectural Lighting

Natural Architectural Lighting

Architects have often used the power of natural sunlight to enhance and emphasize the buildings that they design.
Sun light is an abundant source of energy and has been proved to enhance peoples sense of well being and productivity so is a very important aspect of the building design and of lighting design.

Combining natural and artificial light

Daylight and artificial light can be incorporated together to ensure that there is adequate light in the building both day and night.

For a daylight system this is often done through the use of photocells which are sensitive to the quantity of natural daylight which raise and lower the artificial light depending on the required illuminance levels, this is especially important for commercial and office projects, which ensures that lighting is only switched on when there is insufficient natural light.

Sunpipes.

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Sunpipes are a tried and tested technology and are a great solution for existing projects where you want to bring natural light into those dark crevices.

Sunpipes essentially work by funneling daylight usually from an aperture in the roof or walls via a highly reflective enclosed mirrored tube to an opening in the ceiling (or walls). The tube and cut out varies in size depending on the installation requirements. Generally the larger the cut out the more sunlight can enter the room.

Sun pipes can also be incorporated with artificial lights so that the sun pipes can be used both at night and at day – meaning that the aperture of the sun pipe is fully utilized and reducing the visual clutter in the ceiling.

The main advantage of a sun pipe over a velux window or skylight is that there are less planning restrictions as the opening is much smaller, they can be simpler to instal and light can be funneled to where it is needed and also the light from them is much more diffuse. This means that there is less harsh direct sunlight – minimizing discomfort glare.

There is some slight limitation when incorporating between floors and when putting bends in the pipe which decrease the efficiency of the system.

Also the amount of light can vary significantly depending on the time of year and obviously the time of day which is why it is useful to incorporate the system with artificial lighting.

As well as sun pipes, fibre optics have been developed to provide natural daylight in to a scheme. They essentially work by having a moveable head which rotates with the earths movement in relation to the sun thus ensuring the apparatus is always focused on the most amount of sunlight. These system are very expensive and use energy to focus the apparatus.

If you would like us to look at incorporating more natural light into your project please get in touch and we can discuss the various options with you.

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