Lighting accounts for 5-10% of total energy use in the average American home and costs $50 to $150 per year in electricity, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Swapping out incandescent light bulbs for CFLs or LEDs can help cut down on this costly energy consumption, but nothing can beat the affordability of natural light from the sun.
The idea of utilizing sunlight to illuminate indoor areas is nothing new, but most passive solar lighting schemes require direct sunlight. The Daylight lamp, however, uses a combination of new materials and energy-efficient lighting technology to leverage indirect daylight in home or office settings.
According to its creator, Felix Wilden, the aim of the Daylight system is to reflect ambient daylight, not direct sunlight. “Daylight is streamed indoors by the external reflecting plates, and re-reflected internally by the interior reflecting devices. The reflecting plates can be adjusted individually,” writes Wilden on Red Dot.
The Daylight’s reflective surfaces are made from special reflective aluminium that’s only 0.4mm thick. This super-thin material boasts a reflection factor of 98 percent, and its surface is imprinted with a special pattern that spreads the light. Light is streamed indoors by the external reflecting plates, and re-reflected internally by the interior reflecting devices. The reflecting plates, which are arranged to resemble the structure of tropical leaves, can be adjusted individually.
But the Daylight is more than just a fancy set of reflectors. Modern LEDs provide light at night and early morning hours when there is not enough daylight to reflect. A light sensor calculates how much artificial light needs to be added to achieve a certain light level. Also, the colour of daylight (which changes during the day) can be simulated.
Unlike normal light fixtures, which can be costly to manufacture, the injection-moulded side parts of the Daylight have been designed for production using just two tool parts. And because most of the parts are made from powder-coated aluminum, the lamp can be easily recycled.