Utilization of Natural Light in Indoor Applications: Simulation and Implementation
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The need for renewable energy has inspired the development of various methods that conserve or lessen the consumption of our nonrenewable natural resources. Alternative methods in conserving energy include technologies, such as utilizing natural light systems that can light buildings with the use of sunlight by receiving, distributing and delivering sunlight. Distribution of the delivered natural light is performed by positioning optical fibers (end glow and side glow) at certain heights and positions. While daylight systems utilize optical fibers to deliver natural light in buildings, this application has rarely been tested in an indoor environment for plant production. This research intends to test the application of optical fibers and end effector crystals in the transfer and distribution of natural light to an indoor environment and improve the application by identifying and optimizing the affecting factors. The adopted commercialized software, which is commonly used for architectural indoor lighting designs, is utilized in a nonconventional application. For this purpose, a mechanical, optical and electrical system was developed to hold, control, transfer, and distribute the light via the optical fibers system. The factor and its levels were identified using the full factorial design. Based on experiment results, the distance from the light source to the flat surface of the system revealed that the uniformity of the light distribution increased. The findings also showed distance increased the light intensity would fluctuate. Overall, the side glow had a better performance on light uniformity due to its consistency but the light was less intense while end glow had no uniformity but was distributing more intense light.