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Daylighting: Using the Sun to Light up Building Interiors

Hyderabad based Skyshade Daylighting Solutions is a company that has come up with several innovative products that capture sunlight and deliver the light in buildings without converting solar energy into electricity. 
Guest Article by Satya Narayan, Skyshade Daylights
The increasing emphasis on green technologies has seen several new innovative products now making an entry into the Indian market. One such area which is witnessing interesting developments is “Daylighting”. Light in usable form without ultraviolet radiation, heat or glare is called “daylighting”.
Lighting in buildings has been evolving on the basis of three principles. First, since buildings consume 30% electric energy for lighting, reduction of this consumption with the use of energy efficient lighting technologies should be explored. The T5 and LED lighting has evolved as an offshoot of this idea. Second, use of lighting controls can significantly reduce (up to 25-30%) lighting energy consumption. Thus, proper use of lighting controls can lead to large energy savings. Third, research shows that daylighting has psychological and physiological benefits apart from energy savings. Today, use of daylighting is promoted by forums of green buildings and architecture.
Hyderabad based Skyshade Daylighting Solutions is a company that has come up with several innovative products that capture sunlight and deliver the light in buildings without converting solar energy into electricity.  Skyshade’s solutions work on using the visible light energy (45% of solar energy spectrum) without converting it into power. By removing the ultraviolet radiation, softening the light and reducing the heat, the sunlight becomes usable lighting energy for building spaces during daytime for 9-10 hours. By incorporating special optics technology, the contrast of light variation from morning to peak noon can be reduced. Lighting controls can be incorporated for proportional delivery of electric lighting to compensate reduction of daylight at task plane and thus take care of seasonal variations of sunlight and unexpected variations of sunlight.
Daylighting solutions are very cost effective as compared to solar powered lighting for buildings with payback periods of 2 years or less. Each square meter of a day-lit building can save 16 kWh of electricity annually with a corresponding reduction of 1.385 tons of carbon dioxide emission per year.
Skyshade Daylight’s founder, Sekhar Nori, a Mechanical engineer, and his team have come out with a wide range of Daylighting solutions including, Solar Lightpipe™ - Tubular Daylighting System, Skyshelves™ - which redirects daylight from glass into interior spaces while eliminating glare & radiant heat.
One of the best examples of the company’s innovative solutions is the ‘Solar Lightpipe™, the flagship product of the company, using which natural daylight can be literally carried through pipes to reach even basements in buildings. An added advantage of the technology is that while it maximizes sun’s light, it also minimizes heat. 

Solar LightpipeTM
 The Skyshade solar lightpipe is made up of 3 components:
  • Light collector
  • Reflective system
  • Light Diffuser
The system is so designed that the light collector collects light from all directions and delivers it effectively throughout the day, even when solar angles are low during the morning or afternoon. The design ensures that the light delivered is uniform, with some of the mid-day radiation being rejected by using deflection panels which are arranged so as to absorb maximum light from the morning and evening sun, and least from the mid-day sun. The collector also blocks UV radiation.
The reflective system with silver metal oxide coating inside the pipe reflects and re-reflects the light, till the crisscross of light travels down the pipe and hits the Light Diffuser. The diffusers control and distribute the intensified light (from the light collector) into indoor spaces. The diffuser controls the light according to the glare and distribution of sunlight. 
Light pipes can light up areas uniformly due to the diffuser. In fact, properly designed light-pipes can also light up basements.

Day360™ – IDS (Integrated Daylighting System)
One of the latest innovations of Skyshade Daylighting is the patented, integrated lighting (Daylighting with electrical lighting) system, which is the first of its kind in world. The Day360™ system works with Daylighting as central theme and controls electric lighting based on it. The unique feature of the system is that it has a central control panel that measures the electrical energy consumption of lighting systems in real time conditions. The energy efficiency of the system can be monitored effectively by facility manager. For the first time the energy measuring system helps to validate the energy efficiency on real time basis rather than claims. These systems can be used in warehouses, manufacturing units, large retails spaces and offices etc.
The key advantages of the system include:
  • Energy savings potential up to 75%. Improves the building energy efficiency and reduces the carbon foot print.
  • Convenience of automation with lighting controls.
  • Lower heat gain in building reducing air conditioning.
  • Lighting settings can be customized to work space requirements.
  • Daylighting makes building spaces healthy with increase in quality & productivity.
  • Long life with low maintenance.
Author: Sustainability Outlook