Using the sun to light office buildings instead of electricity saves energy. But is it affordable?
The radiometer tracks the sun's progress across the Manhattan skyline and sends a signal from the roof to the command computer on a floor 90 meters below. Blinds fall slowly with the buzz of an electric motor, cutting off the sun's glare on computer screens. Another computer triggers the shades on the opposite side of the building to rise while another system shuts off the air-conditioning and adjusts the internal lights.
The New York Times Co. saves energy at its 52-story headquarters using the oldest lighting technology in the world: the sun. Floor-to-ceiling windows let sunlight flood into the office space and sensors then dim the internal lights to save energy. In the process, compared with other buildings in New York City, the Times Building has reduced its energy use by 24 percent, according to a new report prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).