The EUREKA E! 3418 LIG-HT project is set to bring the sun into the heart of the Austrian Tyrol town of Rattenberg in the depths of winter. A combination of heliotstats – mirrors that track the sun – and optical concentrators would make it possible to light up locations within the town that lies totally in the shadow of a 900-m high mountain for over three months of the year. The benefits would be psychological, economic and environmental.
Rattenberg was built just north of the Rat Mountain for defensive reasons in the Middle Ages. But the height of the mountain means that local inhabitants must seek sun outside their town during the cold winter months from November to mid February. The depressive effect of this lack of natural light has led to a steady reduction in the population over recent years.
“We have worked with the town authorities on various street and monument lighting projects,” explains Wilfried Pohl of Austrian project leader Bartenbach LichtLabor. This lighting design bureau has long specialised in the use of natural light to illuminate windowless offices and underground areas. “Use of natural light not only saves electrical energy but also raises the environmental quality of the areas being illuminated. This led to the idea of using optical reflector technology to provide sunny spots within the town.”
Catherine Shiels | alfa
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