Passive lighting is any architectural element that uses sunlight to light interiors without using electronics such as solar panels. This includes both techniques perfected before the invention of electric light and approaches that make use of modern materials and design knowledge. The following are common types of passive lighting.
WindowsRegular windows are a type of passive lighting. Smart windows aren't considered passive as they are a type of electronic device.
Light ShelvesLight shelves are horizontal structures located at a window to reflect light deep into a room.
Shoji Traditional Japanese room separators made with semi-translucent paper in a wooden frame. Allows light to travel through interiors and for interior walls to be retracted for more light during the day. Exterior facing shoji are essentially large windows that offer diffused light as opposed to harsh direct sunlight.
Translucent ConcreteConcrete walls that are designed to let some light pass through typically using fiber optics.
Light WellsAn open space within a building designed to bring light and ventilation to deep interior spaces. Typically a small space that is somewhat usable as a garden or patio.
AtriumAn open space within a building that is larger than a lightwell with highly usable space. May be open air or have a glass roof.
Roof MonitorsAn elevated structure built into a roof to provide more space for windows.
Light TubesA tube designed to capture sunlight and transport it into a room.
Sunlight TransportSunlight transport is a general term for passive systems that capture sunlight and transport it to interior spaces. Modern methods such as fiber optics can move sunlight efficiently deep into the interior of structures.
External ReflectorsDevices on the exterior of a building that are designed to reflect light into the building.
Bottle WallsA wall that uses recycled glass as small windows. Tends to provide highly diffused ambient light that isn't too bright. Attractive to reuse enthusiasts.
Clerestory A clerestory is a high section of a wall used for windows that are above eye level. This allows light to travel deep into a room. The height of the windows allows for strong sunlight and ample ventilation without feeling too bright or drafty.
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