Fibre optics can create a more wholesome indoor environment and save energy.
For practical reasons, work in the traditional farming community followed the availability of daylight. Most of us would still probably prefer to work in natural rather than artificial light. Studies confirm this instinct, and the fact that health and productivity increase in premises with access to natural light. But this access is limited in many workplaces.
IKEA in Bilbao and the X-ray clinic at Södertälje Hospital have done something to combat this problem. They have installed a new technology developed by Parans Solar Lighting AB, which has the added benefit of being energy-saving. The company produces a panel which catches sunlight. The panel is fitted to roofs or facades, and the light is taken via a thin fibreoptics cable to light fittings inside the building. This means that rooms situated within 20 metres or three floors from the panel can benefit from natural light. The result is a more wholesome indoor environment, energy-savings and the opportunity to put more areas of the properties into commercial use.
This article was first published in Advantage Environment printed in February 2008