Our increasingly busy lives tend to keep us indoors a lot. During the winter months, it’s common for people to be indoors under artificial light from before dawn to after sundown. This can have a number of negative health effects. We need natural sunlight to stimulate the production of certain hormones, especially those involved in the sleep-wake cycle.
Humans also need sunlight in order to produce sufficient vitamin D; this can be particularly difficult to achieve in colder climates. While artificial lighting systems have been deveopled that help replicate some of the effects of sunlight, they can’t do everything that sunlight does.
Fortunately, there are solutions. The right lighting system can make a significant difference to your wellbeing; because of this, architects and designers are trying to incorporate new technologies into their buildings that allow sunlight to be used for lighting even in spaces with limited access to natural light. Simpler solutions include heliostats — essentially large mirrors that reflect light into gloomy spaces via windows or skylights. More sophisticated concepts include fibre-optic cables, leading from the exterior to the interior of the building or embedded in building materials. Parans, a Swedish company, is in the vanguard of these new technologies.
Products offered by Parans include their SP4 sunlight collector system. This uses banks of lenses that collect even weak sunlight and channel it inside a building via fibre-optic cables. To make the most of every moment of natural light, the sunlight collectors move around to track the sun across the sky. Their Lumiere system uses fibre optic cables to create a hidden light source to brighted up rooms and corridors. Parans also offer hybrid solutions which combine natural light with an artificial boost for maximum effect. Using these innovative products, it’s hoped that more and more people will enjoy improved mood levels, better concentration and enchanced general health through the benefits of natural sunlight.