Skip to main content

Integrated system for daylighting, natural ventilation and solar heating


1) Develop an integrated light pipe/passive stack/solar heat-pipe unit.
2) Deterrnine, on a laboratory scale, the performance of the unit at different locations in Europe

3) Determine the relevance of the integrated concept in terms of Simple Payback Period, Life Cycle Cost and Energy Payback Period.

4) Monitor the functioning of the unit developed on a pilot scale.
Until now daylighting, natural ventilation and solar heating techniques have been developed independently and form separate systems. This leads to poor system integration, higher cost of installation, longer payback period and slower uptake of light pipe technology. The proposed work aims to develop a unit combining light pipe technology and passive stack ventilation by utilising the light pipe as an exhaust stack.
The system could be further integrated with a novel design of heat pipe, which extracts thermal energy from a roof-mounted solar collector and transports it into the building for heating application. The main advantages of this integrated concept are: 1) reduced need for electricity (lighting, heating and ventilation power) as well as lower environmental load, as it is an entirely passive system; 2) considerable space saving in the building owing to integration of the stack, light pipe and solar heat pipe; 3) avoidance of excessive heat load and strengthened stack effect by absorption of infrared radiation in the stack/pipe 4) creation of a natural environment conducive to high productivity and low absenteeism. 5) low cost due to system integration and the small number of components required.

The proposed system will be developed using laboratory testing, computer modelling, architectural analysis and testing the pilot-scale unit in buildings. The consortium is highly complementary and multi-disciplinary as a result of its combination of the efforts of the architectural company (Short Ford Associates) with those of the building services company (Sulzer Infra Ltd), manufacturing company (Isoterix Ltd) and research expertise of the universities (Helsinki University of Technology, University of Nottingham, University of Oporto). The partners are drawn from four European Countries; i.e., Finland, UK, Portugal and Switzerland. The proposed system will be further developed into a commercial product by the industrial partners if the research and development project indicates the system to be viable. The industrial companies will benefit directly as an integrated system with lower unit cost would make them significantly more competitive in the worldwide market of low-energy buildings and systems. The system would be valuable to building owners and the construction industry. Manufacturers of daylighting and solar heating components would also benefit from increased demand for their products. The environment will obviously benefit as the system is passive, utilises solar energy and employs an "ozone friendly" working fluid.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Helsinki University of Technology
02150 Espoo

Participants (5)

Sulzer Infra (Schweiz) AG
8401 Winterthur
United Kingdom
Wansbeck 12, Business Park
NE63 8QW Newcastle Upon Tyne
Rua Dr. Roberto Frias
4200-465 Porto
University of Nottingham
United Kingdom
University Park
NG7 2RD Nottingham
United Kingdom
Holborn 24-30, Buchanan House
EC1N 2HS London