Light scoops are designed to provide optimal light levels.

22 August 2013 — A new type of skylight that provides optimal levels of daylight has been developed by a New York university.

The Lighting Research Center, part of New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, recently released a guide for designing the innovative skylight, called a light scoop.

The researchers said light scoops provided optimal levels of daylight throughout seasons and daily fluctuations in weather by capturing and strategically redirecting daylight into buildings.

The scoop is designed to balance out daily and seasonal fluctuations in light level and temperature by providing less light in summer and more light in winter, while accounting for the natural pattern of the sun as it travels across the sky.

Conventional horizontal skylights provided too much sun on sunny, warm days and too little sun on cold, dark days, the researchers said.

The technology was said to work best in locations that were frequently overcast, and in these conditions the scoop received light from the brightest part of the sky, known as the zenith.

Using light scoops and controls, the researchers said electric lights could be turned off when adequate daylight was available, saving on lighting energy and operating costs. They could also be used to save on heating and cooling costs.

The guide can be downloaded here.