Researchers develop new technology to bring natural light deep into building

2 December 2012 (Last Updated December 2nd, 2012 18:30)

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have designed windows that can bring natural light deep into a building.

Building

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have designed windows that can bring natural light deep into a building.

The research project was designed at MIT and continued at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in France.

The new technology was recently integrated into six floors of a building in Tokyo, Japan.

EPFL’s Marilyne Andersen, who heads the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Performance-Integrated Design (LIPID), developed the complex windows, which brought natural light into the buildings at depths of around15m.

The system will be placed on the top of the glass and has the ability to collect as well as redirect light.

Marilyne Andersen said that adequate illumination up to about 6m can be done with a standard window size.

"Our technology makes it generally possible to double that depth," Andersen said.

Two technologies are integrated in the complex windows between the two panes of double-glazing to diffuse the light.

The first device comprises a series of aluminium slats fixed parallel to one another and a double parabolic curve on both sides, which will catch natural light and redirect it toward the ceiling.

"The research project was designed at MIT and continued at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in France."

Aluminium slats will prevent sunrays from being retransmitted downward and avoid glare for occupants acting as sun protectors.

The second mechanism, coupled to the slats, features a transparent acrylic cylinder half a centimetre in diameter that uses the distribution of light in the bearing to laterally diffuse it into the room and a reflective ceiling completes the device.

"We chose a ceiling mirror with some granularity to accentuate the lateral diffusion, all while maintaining a redirection toward the bottom of the room." Andersen said.


Image: The new technology was integrated into six floors of a building in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: courtesy of Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.