Saving energy on light

It is obvious nowadays that we need light in our buildings. In a faculty building light is needed in classrooms, conferences aulas, libraries, etc. In order to produce light we need energy, and this energy comes from electrical companies. What light concerns, a lot of savings can be made in a building when using the availability of a big power source: the sun.

Finding a solution to reduce energy used to generate light can be split up in two different main themes. The first one is to profit as much as we can from the sun light available during the day. As we mentioned before the sun is the most powerful source we can rely on. So the building need to have a optimal shape conforming the path that the sun realizes in a day. This way we won’t need a lot of extra energy for lighting the building. The more surface we expose to the sun, the more light we will receive and less energy will be needed. To complement the light spread into the faculty, some biological examples led us to think about the possibility to transport light through the building. The basic principle is taken from the silica spicules of sponges. This silica spicules have the ability to transport the light taken directly from the sun and transporting it into the inner parts of the sponge by structurally arranging individual spicules in bundles. If we were able to integrate this principle in the building or some parts of the building we would be able to have a higher luminosity in parts of the faculty that sun light doesn’t reach.

Another problem arrives when the sun goes down and no more natural lightning is available. What we would need is a source to generate light in a way that we do not use electricity. As in the case of the sponge we found an example in nature that can help the building reduce its energy need. The objective now is to understand the principle and try to make a possible adaptation of the manner in which fireflies produces light. This light is produced by a process of oxidation of luciferin in the presence of the enzyme luciferase, which occurs very quickly. Then we have to see if there is some way to introduce this principle to our project.

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