The environmental impact of a light bulb
Artificial light is an essential component of our lives that we take for granted, an almost imperceptible presence whose consumption has a not negligible impact on the environment.
To date, a large part of the electricity of the globe is produced thanks to the aid of non-renewable sources, a part of its production involves the use of nuclear power and, in a minimal percentage, the use of renewable sources.
The banal and simple act of turning on a light hides behind it a chain of events that connect the extractive industry, with related territorial supply conflicts, the atmospheric pollution caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, particulate matter atmospheric, heavy metals and much more, and a characteristic of the geography of the territory, inevitable also for the plants that renew the use of resources
The need to cope with a climate emergency that can no longer be postponed has led to ever greater investments in the sustainable energy industry and in the search for alternative techniques that can use the natural characteristics of the production areas.
Home heliostat and clean energy
What if there was a way to light our homes with zero impact and in a completely invasive way? It exists, and its name is domestic heliostat.
The heliostat is a device that allows you to intercept sunlight by following the apparent motion of the sun, and then reflect the light in a fixed and continuous direction.
The heliostat has a fundamental role in the field of renewable energy, but the real revolution in the sector was introduced by the Italian start-up Solenica with the invention of a portable heliostat, on a reduced scale, that can be comfortably used in our daily life.
Caia, this is the name of the heliostat signed by Solenica, is the goddess who lights up our home.
Equipped with a 36 cm diameter mirror, with a linear and clean design, Caia is a solar-powered robot that tracks and redirects sunlight in order to illuminate a room by activating it with a simple power button.
Introducing a heliostat in a room means having access to a type of light of the highest quality, without any impact on the environment, given the absence of electricity, and with significant psychophysical benefits.
Prolonged deprivation of light can, in fact, contribute to the onset of a seasonal disorder known as S.A.D., a depressive condition inevitably connected to today’s rhythms of life that forces you to spend most of the day indoors and often at your desk.
The global adventure of Diva Tommei
It is precisely the seasonal depressive disorder that becomes the driving force that tickles the imagination of the inventor and CEO of Solenica Diva Tommei, leading her, sometime later, to lay the foundations for the solar mirror lamp project.
Roman researcher with a degree in biotechnology, Diva Tommei arrives in Cambridge for a doctorate in bioinformatics, and in the gloomy British city suffers the consequences of deprivation of sunlight.
The seasonal depression suggests to her to imagine a new use of the heliostat, which she becomes aware of during a stay at NASA, where she arrives as a researcher thanks to a course at Singularity University.
Diva Tommei imagines being able to replace the sad fluorescent lights with warm sunlight and restore the necessary balance to the body, mind and environment.
In San Diego, at the Qualcomm accelerator, the Italian start-up receives its first investments, with related inevitable failures: because Caia was born precisely from a winning combination of need and failure, and from the dialectical ability to restore the synthesis between the two under the form of creative innovation in support of environmental balances.
What attracts US investors is the intuition of proposing a sustainable lighting source, an energy-saving solution within everyone’s reach and the attitude of the Solenica team, which makes the reconversion of energy and adaptability to the market its point of focus power.
Failure is not easy, and knowing how to metabolize failure and direct it elsewhere is the key to achieving an idea that could change our ordinary.
It is no coincidence that Caia saw the light from the ashes of a second failure, that of the Lucy prototype, and thanks to a bottom-up investment movement that reached $ 500,000 on Indiegogo.
How the imagination can reprogram the space we inhabit
Illuminating a room with clean sunlight can not only be very pleasant and bring significant benefits to our body, with the consequence of a reduction in stress and a general improvement in the quality of life; using a zero-impact lighting device directly means participating in a global cooperation program to protect the environment.
Being able to regularly use a device such as Caia in the environments we live in, in particular in rooms destined for greater energy expenditure for lighting purposes, would mean being able to save up to 20% of total electricity.
The domestic heliostat that is embodied in Caia integrates an ecological housing model that is gradually expanding, with access to sustainable materials and an organic architecture model that respects environmental balances.
The possibility of flooding the solid perimeter we live in with the sun makes us touch the purpose of the idea of Solenica, to put the static nature of a room in close relationship with the elements of nature.
We can rethink space and our way of living by placing ourselves in a fluid relationship with nature, imagining cities of the future made up of homes totally embraced by a biodiversity that we can protect even with a simple click.
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Roberta is graduated in philosophy at the University of Naples Federico II, she is currently a scholarship holder at the IISF in Naples. Interested in research for the development of new technologies and environmental protection, she is happy to collaborate with Atmosphera lab.