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Solar Lighting

on a grand scale
  (+3, -4)
(+3, -4)
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We've seen lighting tubes which pop up out of the roof and provide for the equivalent of a small window for indoor lighting, but what about on a larger scale: make the south-facing roof transparent and through a series of adjustable mirrors and individual narrowing pipes, you can bring whatever proportion of all the light hitting the roof into a room or combination of rooms.

So, from dawn to dusk you would have excellent ambient lighting wherever desired, easily enough to read or do homework by. At night, for a good chunk of the month you could light at least one room and definitely have enough candlepower to light hallways and the bathroom.

Tempted as I am to envision a series of cogs and brass fittings to rotate the mirrors, computer-controlled would probably be easier: each of the rooms' dimmable lightswitches hooked up to the central control which decides which tube gets how much light... oh and one large lamp in the attic which can also be focused into the individual tubes in case of a waning moon. Mirrors not in use can be reflected onto a solar-electric/heating panel(s).

Was wondering about what type of filters to use but, if you have that "whiter than white" paint which absorbs UV and emits visible-spectra, to paint your ceilings with... and quantum dots to do the same in the infrared- region, you can use it all.

FlyingToaster, Sep 07 2008

solar skylight tube http://www.inhabita...6/12/28/solar-tube/
[FlyingToaster, Sep 07 2008]

they're gettin' there. http://www.sunflowe...ghting-solution.htm
only one source and destination so far but it's a start [FlyingToaster, Apr 08 2010]


       Speaking of filtering, there was a company that had developed a window tint made of solar cell chemicals. This allowed windows to shade out some of the light by converting it into electricity.   

       No need to include a solar electric pannel then, as the window glass would be doing that job.
ye_river_xiv, Sep 07 2008

       //No need to include a solar electric pannel then//... hmm, missing the point xiv, solar-electrics are <10pct effective, so in this case you've lost 90pct of your lighting potential... be good if you could engineer a cell to just use everything outside the visible light spectrum, though.
FlyingToaster, Sep 07 2008

       Solar cells can be up to about 40% efficient, although these are extremely expensive. Regardless, the inefficiency is not entirely due to ineffecient conversion. Most of it is due to inability to convert a wide range of frequencies (most have a single, or at most 2-3 bands of useable light). Thus a solar cell that filters only the range it can use would still approach optimal effeciency while passing a significant percentage of the light. Using any of the visible spectra would create odd coloring, but IR or UV cells do exist.
MechE, Sep 08 2008

       Is this idea "many solar skylight tubes"?
bungston, Sep 08 2008

       //many solar skylight tubes?//
Nah, entire rooftop full of mirrors selectively reflecting, funnelling, concentrating into the requisite number of (smaller diameter to easily pass through interior walls to lower floors) skylight tubes. (other post) "Single Source Lighting" grafted in for no-moon night lighting.
FlyingToaster, Sep 08 2008

       It totally fails the K.I.S.S test. Who wants a skylight that needs constant maintenance and requires power to function? In fact, without expensive filtration direct sunlight is undesirable making light reflected from trees, clouds and the atmosphere better anyway. Move your desk, not the sun.
WcW, Sep 08 2008

       You an aussie (Una)? I have always wanted join the wine industry down under (fingers crossed on there being one in the future).
WcW, Sep 08 2008

       //light intensity is literally painful, unless you can break it down to indirect sources//
not a fan of direct lighting myself: the tubes terminate at reflectors specifically designed for the area, which bounce the light into the ceiling (which of course is painted with all sorts of neat stuff to change the long and short wavelengths into visible light)
FlyingToaster, Sep 09 2008

       <whistle> anyone said fiber optics?   

       "idea" and "technique" may not mean the same thing I guess.. but the idea is good [+]
xkuntay, Mar 06 2009

       //fiber optics?//
I think we could get better transmission with reflective tubes on new-design houses for static installation locations (ceiling lights mostly).

       Fibre-optic lines can be incorporated by having some tubes terminate in wall-outlets: plug your FO lamp in, set the dial on the plate to how much light you want the system to send to that outlet and you're all set.   

       Quick recap of the design is: optics in the attic or on the roof all converge to one inlet from which the entire light falling on the roof is dynamically apportioned to different area(s).   

       [edit] I might be confusing this with my "Single Source" post; can't remember if I had plans for one inlet or many for this one)
FlyingToaster, Mar 06 2009

       //It totally fails the K.I.S.S test//
Look around you. Now, ask your elf - "Where am I?"
coprocephalous, Apr 08 2010


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