High-tech lighting cuts electricity bills

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Jun 26, 2007
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In this age of environmental awareness, a couple ofhigh-tech Japanese companies have turned the clock back over a hundred years toreduce energy consumption using 19th-century lighting techniques.
Ishikawa Optics & Arts and Inosyo haveindependently developed techniques for illuminating the interior of buildingsthat reduce the reliance on electric lighting [subscription link].
Luxfer invoked
Harking back to Victorian drives to light interiorswithout electricity, Inosyo’s new skylight system funnels natural light from aglass dome on the roof through mirrored tubes and into any room. The result isceiling fittings that are as effective as fluorescent lights.
Ishikawa’s Solbene system is even more directlyrelated to the Luxfer Prism glass made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright. The 2008version uses 1cm glass prisms sandwiched between glass plates to refractexterior sunlight into dark building interiors.
Around 70 per cent of light hitting the glass isdirected towards the ceiling of the room, while 20 per cent shines on the floor,replicating a standard electric lighting effect.
Although a Solbeneinstallation for a 10 square meter room costs ¥500,000 (£2,400), the savings inelectricity bills for large complexes such as factories could make it botheconomical and environmentally friendly.