LightCatcher

belgium_LightCatcher_resizedThe LightCatcher follows the rhythm of the sun to illuminate buildings. 

Econation is a young company and a nominnee for the 2011 EEP award, a prize for innovative methods in the field of environment. Econation’s LightCatcher is the first active, intelligent light dome resulting in up to 3,650 hours of free light a year.

The LightCatcher follows the rhythm of the sun to illuminate buildings. Its strength is its ability to catch daylight, even when the sun is hidden behind a thick layer of clouds since it requires daylight, not sunrays. The system works on cloudy and rainy days too and It can be installed everywhere, on flat or slanting roofs anywhere in the world. One LightCatcher illuminates 50 to 120 square meters. It consists of different layers of polycarbonate and it uses an ingenious sensor system that constantly searches for the most optimal incidence of light. The latter distinguishes this system from other daylights systems in that the LightCatcher doesn’t obstinately follow the sun, rather it corrects and optimises whenever local conditions require it to do so.

According to the designers the LightCatcher approach results in efficiency gains compared to the traditional dome. Their findings suggest that versus a traditional dome the LightCatcher is: 1) three to four times more efficient than a traditional dome (more hours a day, more lux and light strength); 2) active (mirror and motor), a traditional dome is passive; 3) uses smart technology; 4) does not suffer from loss of heat or temperature fluctuations; 5) has three to four times faster cost-recovery period than a traditional dome. Moreover versus solar panels according to the evidence provided by Econation the LightCatcher has: 1) Payback period for solar panel:  9-12 years while the LightCatcher:  2-4 years; 2) Weight/load on roof for solar panel:  min. 18 kg per 1,5m2 while the LightCatcher:  17 kg per 60-120 m2 and 3) Maintenance cost for solar panel:  about 10% of initial investment after 10 -12 years (due to replacement of inverter) while the LightCatcher:  close to zero. They finally also mention that incentives through tax breaks/subsidies for solar panel are reduced every year while for the LightCatcher they are steadily rising every year.

The LightCatcher operates CO2-neutrally and ensures savings of an average of 3.650 hours annually for all light fittings. Less electricity consumption means fewer CO2-emissions.

Economic Performance
Efficiency gains compared to the traditional dome.

Environmental Impact
CO2-emissions reduction (CO2-neutral operation and savings).

Further Information
Source: http://www.econation.be
Source picture: http://www.econation.be

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