Richmond tech company sees bright future in office and highrise

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         TECHNOLOGY                                                                           Daily business news at                 Business in Vancouver March 15–21, 2011

Richmond tech company sees bright                                                                                                                                        reduce the thickness of its
                                                                                                                                                                         light concentrator units to

future in office and highrise lighting
                                                                                                                                                                           t inside a building’s outer
                                                                                                                                                                             Donald Yen, an in-
                                                                                                                                                                         structor in BCIT’s sustain-
                                                                                                                                                                         able urban development pro-
SunCentral’s technology harnesses natural light to illuminate multi-storey building interiors                                                                            gram, said the technology
                                                                                                                                                                         delivers roughly       to
By Eddy Lok                                                                                                                            “There is a major effort          in annual energy savings.
                                                                                                                                                                              “At BCIT, it is seen as a

A     Richmond company
      is developing technol-
ogy that funnels sunlight
                                                                                                                                       underway to build                 really born-in-Canada solu-
                                                                                                                                                                         tion that can be exported to
                                                                                                                                                                         anywhere in the world. e
                                                                                                                                       green and sustainable
into multi-storey buildings                                                                                                                                              export potential is very large
through walls instead of                                                                                                               building practices to             if you look where the high-
roofs and has the potential                                                                                                                                              est energy usage is around
to cut energy use and light-                                                                                                           reduce energy use, and            buildings, and lights rep-
ing costs.                                                                                                                                                               resent        of energy uses
    SunCentral Inc., which                                                                                                             there is a commercial             in buildings worldwide. In
was founded in          and has                                                                                                                                          commercial markets build-
   employees, is using .                                                                                                               payback in using our              ings are often the largest
million in federal and prov-                                                                                                                                             energy users. is tech can
incial government funding                                                                                                              new technology”                   be very relevant globally.”
to bankroll the project.                                                                                                                                                     Formby added that the
       e UBC spino ’s target                                                                                                                            – Tony Formby,   global market potential of
market includes commercial                                                                                                                          president and CEO,   the technology is huge, espe-
and government o ces such                                                                                                                                   SunCentral   cially in sunny regions.
as education and health-care      Another bright idea: SunCentral’s technology was developed at UBC in 2007 and uses optics to                                               “California is a perfect
facilities.                       funnel and concentrate sunlight through small wall openings                                                                            place. Some areas in China
    Gary Hamer, BC Hydro’s                                                                                                                                               have a lot of sunshine; India
manager for residential sector    and help create a more pro-      for commercial release in         roo op-based [and take] sun-      natural state to light the        is a perfect market with a
technology and innovation,        ductive workplace and a more     early       , is the brainchild   light from roofs and skylights    interior of buildings deep        high economic growth but
said the natural light technol-   pleasant environment.            of UBC professor Lorne            on buildings. The technol-        inside, much further than the     ine cient power infrastruc-
ogy is particularly well-suited       “There is a major effort     Whitehead. It was developed       ogy can address light needs of    windows can provide.”             ture.”
for o ce buildings because        underway to build green and      at UBC in             and uses    multi-storey buildings. If it’s       SunCentral’s technology           Formby estimated
work days usually coincide        sustainable building prac-       optics to funnel and concen-      from the roof, only the oor       has thus far been implemented     that the annual potential
with sunlight hours. He said      tices to reduce energy use,”     trate sunlight through small      below can get the sunlight.”      in two demonstration pro-         market for the company’s
Hydro is determining the          said Tony Formby, SunCen-        wall openings.                        He added that the tech-       jects: one at BCIT, the other     technology in the south-
effectiveness and energy-         tral’s president and CEO,            “It’s the only technology     nology is seven times more        at UBC. Formby said another       ern U.S. sunbelt states alone
saving value of SunCentral’s      “and there is a commercial       that is able to take sunlight     e cient than solar panels.        two are planned for comple-       would be more than bil-
technology.                       payback in using our new         and move it into the inter-           “We are not converting        tion this year in B.C. and two    lion. He pegged the annual
    Hamer added that the          technology.”                     ior of a building from the        sunlight to electricity. We’re    more will be done next year in    global market at closer to
technology could reduce elec-         SunCentral’s technology,     side of walls,” Formby said.      taking sunlight, concen-          the United States.                billion. •
trical use in building lighting   which is expected to be ready    “Other technologies are           trating it and using it in its        SunCentral is working to

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