Gaines Group Architects
light shelf

Green Term Defined: Light Shelf

Green Term Defined: Light Shelf

A light shelf is a horizontal overhanging element located above the eye-level and typically having a highly reflective upper surface. Sunlight hits the top of the light shelf and bounces inside of the structure hitting the ceiling. This brings light deeper into the structure that reduces energy usage for lighting and glare.

light shelflight shelflight shelf light shelf


Green Term Defined: Solar

Solar is sexy. You see it on television, read about it in newspapers, and see it on roofs. Going green and adding solar walk hand in hand in the mass media. However, many don’t understand all the options and implications of using solar energy in building structures.


Passive Solar Design – windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and

distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer

Solar Thermal Systems – a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat)



Solar Photovoltaic Systems – an arrangement of components designed to supply usable electric power

solar house

Solar Air Systems – a solar thermal technology in which the energy from the sun, solar isolation, is captured by an absorbing medium and used to heat air


Trombe Wall – a thermal mass wall that is located within a structure used to absorb solar energy during the daylight hours and radiate that energy back out at night
Light Shelf – an architectural element that allows daylight to penetrate deep into a building. This horizontal light-reflecting overhang is placed above eye-level and has a high-reflectance upper surface. This surface is then used to reflect daylight onto the ceiling and deeper into a space.


Insulated Curtains  – a piece ofcloth intended to block or obscure light, or drafts