Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Horizontal Hybrid Solar Light Pipe: an Integrated System of Daylight and Electric Light

EPA Grant Number: SU834748
Title: Horizontal Hybrid Solar Light Pipe: an Integrated System of Daylight and Electric Light
Investigators: Beltrán, Liliana O. , Fernández-Solis, José
Institution: Texas A & M University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2010) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Our project proposes to further develop and implement a passive sustainable horizontal light pipe system that integrates natural light, electric light, lighting controls and automated blinds, to provide adequate illuminance levels (>300 lux) in deep-floor plan spaces (20’-40’) during building operating hours year-round.


The objectives of the proposed project are to: (1) design and develop the light pipe unit for other latitudes and orientations, (2) construct a unique daylight test facility to serve as a teaching-research center, and (3) give students invaluable hands-on learning experiences in high-efficiency lighting design.


To develop the lighting system, the team will execute the following tasks: (1) redesign the light pipe for other latitudes, building orientations (i.e. SE, SW, NE, NW), space configurations and building types, using state-of-the-art forward ray-tracing lighting software; (2) develop and construct a rotating test facility that represents two identical spaces (20’x30’x10’); (3) evaluate the daylight performance of light pipes designed for other latitudes and building orientations; (4) evaluate the electric lighting and cooling loads in both rooms (with and without the light pipe); (5) coordinate with architects and engineers the design of light pipes in new buildings; (6) implement a light pipe in new or existing buildings; and (7) evaluate the daylight and energy performance of the light pipe over extended periods.

Expected Results:

For Phase II, we propose to build two identical rotating test rooms that can facilitate a thorough evaluation of light pipe designs for different latitudes and building orientations. Light pipe designs for other latitudes and orientations will be tested in this facility to evaluate their daylight performance and energy savings. Light pipe units will be installed in new buildings for long term monitoring of their energy savings, lighting performance and occupant’s response.

Supplemental Keywords:

natural light, energy efficiency, electric lighting, lighting controls, human comfort,

Relevant Websites:

Phase 1 Abstract