Heliostats for Architectural Applications

Heliostats serve many industries as a general-purpose, low-cost heat and light source. One of the simplest uses of heliostats is to provide heat and light for buildings – saving money, and often generating valuable LEED points for your green building project.


H1 Heliostat installed at apartment building, Belgium.

Heliostats work by reflecing sunlight onto a target with a computer-controlled mirror. Small adjustments to the mirror’s position keeps the reflection steady even as the sun moves across the sky.

Unlike Photovoltaic panels – which convert only a tiny percentage of sunlight into electricity – heliostats reflect 85%-90% of the sunlight onto their target. This means relatively few heliostats can have a large impact on a building’s energy use.

Buildings Magazine mentions LightManufacturing heliostats in their Green Facilities Issue

Each LightManufacturing H1 heliostat delivers 1300 peak watts of heat, and 115,000 lumens of light to a building – and this energy enters through existing windows and apertures. No expensive heating system modifications are required, and retrofits are simple. From single family homes to multistory office towers, most buildings can benefit from heliostats.

Compared to competing solar technologies and other energy conservation methods heliostats offer:

  • low purchase cost
  • simple installation
  • easy retrofit to existing structures
  • ideal for infill development and new construction
  • minimal impact on building systems (no need for changes to HVAC)
  • direct, quantifiable reduction of fossil fuel heating costs
  • direct, quantifiable reduction in electricity use / lighting costs
  • improved light quality and intensity

Example Applications (click to expand)

  • …because of exclusive use of gas furnaces, incurring significant Winter heating costs.
  • Solution:  An array of 20 H1 heliostats is installed to point at the glass atrium.
  • Result:  Daytime peak energy use is reduced by 20,000 watts – 20 x 1300 watts per H1 heliostat.
  • … requiring artificial light and contributing to a gloomy atmosphere
  • Solution:  An array of 6 H1 heliostats is installed to point at the 3 windows of the classroom.
  • Result:  Over 600,000 lumens of additional light are delivered to the classroom, creating a bright, stimulating learning environment
  • … that don’t get any direct sunlight, lowering their market value
  • Solution:  H1 heliostats are installed on the roof, reflecting light onto the porch and provides
  • Result:  Daytime peak energy use is reduced by 20,000 watts – 20 x 1300 watts per H1 heliostat.
  • …permanently shaded during Fall events
  • Solution:  H1 heliostats are installed on the edge of the roof structure, and direct heat and light to seating and player areas as needed.  Wireless control allows for easy adjustment by staff for different sports / facility configurations.
  • Result:  Better visitor experience, less need for spot heaters, less energy consumption.
  • …increasing operating costs and reducing productivity in cold months.
  • Solution:  H1 heliostats are deployed on adjacent land or fence-lines, pumping heat and light into the structure via existing windows or skylights.
  • Result:  Greatly reduced daytime heating costs, increased light for crop or animal growth

Heliostat Videos