An eco-friendly daylighting solution for commercial buildings has been created by 3M Architectural Markets, which efficiently captures and harnesses sunlight.
The hybrid system combines multiple technologies to bring sunlight deep into interior spaces and provides consistent light levels throughout the day.
Traditional daylighting methods such as skylights or tubular daylighting devices present a number of challenges. These systems can require multiple entry points and are often limited to top floor applications. They can also contribute to heat gain and loss for the building, and require regular maintenance.
However, 3M’s solution works differently by actively tracking, capturing and transporting the sun’s natural, full visible spectrum daylight beyond just the top floor and into the interior spaces of buildings where natural lighting is limited.
The system uses a GPS-equipped rooftop collector with a single roof penetration to actively track the sun. Horizontal and vertical ducts lined with 3M reflective film carry the light into the building’s interior, where it is delivered with multiple light fixtures. These highly reflective films — with a reflectivity greater than 98% — enable the system to carry sunlight for longer distances and with less light loss than competitive products.
Energy-efficient artificial lighting is also incorporated into the light fixtures, with controls that provide consistent light levels in dark or overcast conditions.
“Daylighting is the original green building practice,” said Dan Franus, marketing manager at 3M Architectural Markets. “The importance of integrating sustainability in building planning only continues to grow, and there is nothing more energy efficient than the sun.”
The system is designed to meet the needs of multiple incentives, rebates and building code mandates, as well as green building code certifications such as LEED.
It offers the potential to reduce a building’s energy demands during peak hours, when rates can be at their highest. In addition, the system can improve the well-being of people in the building, as data has shown that daylighting has a direct impact on productivity and satisfaction.
Targeted at new commercial construction projects, the system can also be retrofitted into existing buildings.