Redbus lights up the office

Office energy bills could be reduced with a new window technology that makes more effective use of daylight.

The system, developed by UK firm Redbus Serraglaze with the help of a £45,000 DTI SMART award, uses tiny mirrors within the window to redirect light up onto the ceiling where it is reflected into the room, reducing glare but increasing natural ambient lighting.

The effect is to create more uniform lighting, without causing a rainbow or colour fringe effect. Potentially, this could reduce the need for artificial lighting in the workplace.

Peter Barry, creator of the Serraglaze concept, claims the system will extend the daylight illumination by several metres into the room, simply by using a window at one end of an office.

The window does not absorb any of the light, it just reflects it. It uses a patented plastic sheetwhich is bonded between two sheets of glass, and incorporates precisely shaped and positioned air pockets that are four times narrower than a human hair.

These minute air pockets within the plastic sheet act as mirrors and reflect light. The cost of the windows should be competitive, the company claims, saying that the price premium is roughly equivalent to the difference between single and double-glazed windows.

But the cost savings in terms of energy use should outweigh this, Redbus believes. If about two-thirds of the energy put into lights comes out as heat, then office air-conditioning systems are consuming yet more energy.

Less electric lighting in offices could therefore lead to further savings on air conditioning.

Redbus Serraglaze products will be available for trial installtions at the end of this year. Redbus Serraglaze is part-owned by Redbus Investments.

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