Source; The Engineer

An international team of researchers is hoping to improve office conditions by developing windows that can direct sunlight deep inside buildings.

Designers at EPFL in Switzerland and MIT in the US have equipped six floors of offices in central Tokyo with the new window technology, which prevents sunlight from creating glare inside the building but diffuses the light at depths of up to 15m within it.

The technology, which comprises a series of curved, parallel aluminium slats and a transparent cylinder positioned between the panes of a double-glazed window, is designed for offices where inhabitants have to close their blinds to prevent glare and can be forced to work under uncomfortable artificial light.

‘Following the principle of a standard window size, adequate illumination up to about 6m can be achieved. Our technology makes it generally possible to double that depth,’ said the window’s lead designer, Marilyne Andersen of EPFL’s Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Performance-Integrated Design (LIPID).

When sunlight hits the windows, the double parabolic curvature on both sides of the aluminium slats captures the light and redirects it toward the ceiling. They also act as sun protection and avoid glare by preventing rays from being retransmitted downward.

The transparent acrylic cylinder, which is 5mm in diameter, then laterally diffuses the light far deeper into the room than a normal window would be able to.

Each window also has a reflective ceiling. ‘We chose a ceiling mirror with some granularity to accentuate the lateral diffusion all while maintaining a redirection toward the bottom of the room,’ said Andersen.

Andersen worked with property developer Hulic to conduct research on natural light while based at MIT, which led to the development of the new window.

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