I would be interested to know if anyone has used a sundog. It’s a little robot that directs natural sunlight into a window all day by following the sun’s arc and consistently reflecting its light into the room. This would be nice around the time of the winter solstice, not to mention in the aftermath of Copenhagen’s failed climate change summit. The device isn’t cheap but it’s probably cheaper than moving to a brighter place, and it removes the need for expensive electric light during the day. It would likely pay for itself eventually. More importantly, it provides the correct spectrum of light, and there’s growing proof that natural sunlight is optimal for mood, thought, concentration and creativity. A similar device, the sunbender, also looks interesting. These and similar devices are made by a organization called Zomeworks who describe the sundog as follows:
The Sundog tracks the sun using the same canister technology that we use in our tracking PV racks. This system translates differences in the temperature of the compressed gas in the two canisters into movement that keeps the Sundog’s mirror aligned with the sun and reflecting delightful, useful, electricity-free light into your home, office, classroom, or other space. Sundog not only provides light, it demonstrates to the mind as well as the senses the changes in the sun’s position throughout the day, month, and year. The minimalist design allows the user to understand how it works, and easy adjustability allows user to experiment with positioning.
I discovered the Zomeworks Corporation last year when I found these photos of their 1969 “Zome” solar houses in a vintage interior design book. Each “zome” opens during the day to admit sun, and closes at night to retain heat. These dome-shaped “zonohedra” living spaces were Zomeworks’ main focus when it was founded in 1969, back when solar power and living off the grid was last fashionable. When I idly searched “Zomeworks” online, looking for more vintage photos, I was amazed to find that the company was still going. It has in fact been producing innovative solar energy technologies in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 40 years, and is now a serious producer of solar panels and other innovative solar devices.