Andrew Michler

Sundolier Robot Pumps Sunlight Indoors for Powerful Daylighting

by , 04/02/10

sustainable design, green design, sundolier, green design, daylighting, skylights, sunlight transport system, green building

What if you could light your entire building using no electricity, or artificial lights – but just the natural light from the sun? Conventional sky-lights do this well in certain types of single-story spaces, but are not very adaptable, powerful, and often have problems with excessive solar heat gain and heat loss. Enter the Sundolier, a powerful sunlight transport system that’s like putting a solar robot on your roof to pump sunlight indoors! The manufacturer claims a single Sundolier unit can provide enough light to illuminate a 1000-2500 sq. ft. area without any other sources.

Daylighting has taken an important role in green building, with benefits ranging from lowered energy bills to happier occupants. Many architects have struggled with making daylighting effective without the cost of glare and heat gain. The Sundolier daylighting system is a new way to gain the benefits of natural light without the drawbacks.

They do this by using an active two-axis tracking mount with a couple of reflectors that look like a big banana peel. The concentrated light is then reflected down a two foot tube and distributed using a “sun chandelier”. They are offering a few chandelier models now with more designs on the way. A roof penetration of only 3.3 sq. ft. is an industry best for the lumens output. Lighting levels at full sun are stated to be 40-50 foot candles at table top with minimal heat gain in a 1000 sq. ft. room. Here is a great video of an installation at a public library.

Now that we got the stats taken care of let’s talk about why natural light is such a hot topic in the land of green building. Studies have shown that retail sales go up, productivity increases, and school grades improve thanks to natural indoor light. But the biggest gain is in the occupants’ health. Link your lighting to a photo sensor and you save a healthy amount of energy as well. An even greater energy reduction is realized because air conditioning is reduced or eliminated by keeping those heat-producing artificial lights off.

+ Sunflower Corporation

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6 Comments

  1. tharun October 8, 2012 at 6:57 am

    it’s well i am a student i want more information abuot this to do a project please send to my mail

  2. Stunning Green Roofed C... June 16, 2010 at 1:01 am

    [...] connected to the outdoors. 47 “Pinocchio Hats” dot the roof — these are actually solar tubes that feed natural light into the building. The complex was developed under the European Union’s [...]

  3. ayampols April 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    This sounds like a copy of the Himawari — sunflower in Japanese — a sunlight collecting system I saw exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt museum in 1998.

    http://www.himawari-net.co.jp/e_page-index01.html

  4. n2nov April 6, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Interesting, but:
    - how do you light up on cloudy days or nights (especially for the northern latitudes)?
    - what is the ROI for an average house, office complex or larger building?
    - how does the device get power for the tracking motors?
    - what is the projected availability?

    “Inquiring minds want to know!”

  5. Andrew Michler Andrew Michler April 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    The tracker is self powered with integrated solar panels (see photo).
    The manufacturer is also developing a shutter so that you can install this unit in conference rooms etc.
    Rumor is that the Sundolier also does not work at night, so we will confirm that that is true.

  6. i22yb April 5, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Three questions the article does not answer:
    1) How much energy (daily average) does the tracking motor use?
    2) Is the tracking motor solar powered?
    3) How does one “turn the lights off”, so to speak?

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