Today, when artificial lighting has become a common part of our life, various options for using natural sunlight are increasingly becoming fashionable. Moreover, the energy of the main luminary is used both for design and as an alternative source of energy.
The history of mankind is the history of the struggle for light, which we eventually learned to “tame” and use. It was necessary to fight for light from the moment the first housing appeared: on the one hand, a person needed shelter from cold and bad weather, and on the other, he, like a “daytime” animal, wanted as much sunlight as possible to enter the house. At first, the only source of light (other than fire) in the primitive dwelling was the chimney hole. In Russian “kurny” huts such a device was called a chimney. But in ancient Greek buildings, a round hole in the roof (opeion), although historically originated from a smoke hole, was already used as a light source. This is, for example, the powerful opeion of the Roman Pantheon, which sends a column of light through an opening in the roof of more than 60 square meters. m. The “overhead light” was especially widespread in the Renaissance – perhaps at the same time it was first called a skylight.
Ceiling windows: skylights
Today the skylight has several purposes: on the one hand, it fulfills its direct function – it illuminates the house, on the other hand, it decorates and changes the decorative solution of the space. And recently, they have learned to integrate ventilation systems into the skylight (for example, controlled smoke hatches). Skylights (they are also called skylights or translucent structures) are mounted in both flat and slightly sloping roofs. Their main advantage over conventional vertical windows is that, due to the location of the light, almost 2 times more passes through them.
At the same time, flawless hydro and thermal insulation is carried out, if necessary, you can make it so that the upper windows can be opened. As for the shapes of such windows, they are quite diverse, and most importantly, as a rule, they are voluminous: these are round or pyramidal domes, vaults and bay windows, which make the space more open and picturesque. If you do not need such an amount of light at the moment, you can easily adjust this moment: special blinds and curtains are produced for window-lamps, which can be remotely controlled. In addition, extraordinary lighting effects can be achieved by using colored stained-glass windows in skylights: thanks to the more powerful illumination, they look much brighter than in vertical windows. Sometimes skylights occupy the entire top of the room, forming a whole translucent roof. Such solutions are very good for any observatory office in the attic, for a home indoor pool, for a winter garden (where the walls can also be transparent) and for many other areas of your home..
How to multiply sunlight
If you are a fan of light-flooded spaces, you can consider the design of your future home in terms of making the most of the natural light coming from the street. Nowadays, glass does not at all mean thin and permeable to cold. Modern laminated glass allows even the whole house to be made of glass. Today, many already design the living room in this way – a kind of continuous bay window with an area of forty meters (and sometimes with a transparent roof). The so-called “second light” is very popular, that is, a living room without a ceiling (a single glazed space between the 1st and 2nd floors).
It is also possible to achieve an abundance of light in the premises of an apartment by using various transparent elements: glass doors and partitions, internal windows in the walls. This is especially true for areas that traditionally do not have windows: a hallway, an entrance hall, a bathroom, a dressing room, as well as for rooms with a lack of natural light (facing north, located on the ground floor, etc.). By the way, the factors of the number of storeys, as well as the orientation of the room to one side of the world, must be taken into account when planning natural insolation. For example, it is known that the lighting in the northern rooms is the scantiest, but it is the most uniform and calm. But in the rooms facing the southwest, in the hot season it can be unbearably stuffy – and this is not counting the fact that the blinding sun constantly hits the eyes. Moreover, the higher the floor, the stronger the degree of illumination..
Ideally, your glazing should also take into account the climate in which the house is located: for example, in southern countries, you should care more about protection from the midday sun than about illumination. It would be nice to take into account the seasons as well: after all, winter requires much more light than summer. Thus, the ideal type of glazing will be the widest and highest window that provides ideal thermal insulation (including in frost), and besides, it is desirable also with the possibility of “darkening” – a kind of chameleon window that reacts to too strong an attack sun.
Sunlight: both beauty and energy
You can use natural light as a design element, as was done back in the Middle Ages in the stained glass windows of Gothic cathedrals or in the amazing creation of Le Corbusier – the Chapel of Notre-Dame-du-Haut in Ronchamp, where a fairytale effect is achieved with the help of randomly scattered windows of an unusual shape many small “spotlights”. It is possible to “open” the room to the light as much as possible with the help of the total use of glass (the tape system of windows is an invention of the same Le Corbusier). But today architects use light not only for lighting itself: they have learned how to extract energy from sunlight and accumulate it “in reserve”.
For example, in our time it is quite real practice when a biosolar house stores energy in the daytime, and then “gives” it in the form of an electric current. Let us recall the amazing glass house “R 128” by the German architect V. Sobek, who, with the help of solar energy, provides himself with heat and electricity … There are already a lot of such houses with solar panels. The latest discoveries of nanotechnology in the not too distant future will make it possible to turn into a kind of solar cells (that is, into systems for converting sunlight into electricity) nothing more than the windows themselves! While it’s hard to believe in this, scientists already know that if the thinnest films of special silicon nanoparticles are applied to a silicon base, then ultraviolet radiation (that is, sunlight) is absorbed and converted into electric current.