German-based manufacturers Kann and NightTec have collaborated to develop glow in the dark concrete pavers called NightTec Leuchsteine.
Phosphorescent crystals are embedded into the concrete surface that captures energy from the sun and emits light every evening for approximately 10 hours. Although the pavers appear white in the sunlight, their evening glow will reflect in either blue or green depending on the selected coating.
From a design perspective, glow in the dark concrete offers a unique surface finish for both interior and exterior spaces. In residential environments, it is popular on floors, pool decks and even tabletops and countertops.
As a flooring product, it also eliminates the need for added flooring finishes such as carpet or timber, thereby conserving materials.
NightTec Leuchsteine pavers however, have a commercial focus as the design integrates aesthetic design with an innovative safety function where the concrete pavers can be applied in stairwells in high-rise buildings and used to delineate emergency exit paths or to mark door handles. This is especially useful should electricity be unavailable in hazardous areas during a power outage.
While the light emitted is not intensely bright, NightTecs describe the pavers’ illumination as adequate to light up airplane or helicopter pads at night.
With a global industry focus on environmental initiatives, the concept breathes new life into the durable and low-maintenance attributes of concrete. Concrete is not intended to emit light, so some countries concerned with energy savings have taken to glow in the dark aggregate technology as a new sustainable material.
NightTec is an innovator in “light cycling,” the process of recycling light. Based on an estimate of future building renovations that use illuminating materials, they found that this form of glow in the dark concrete could have an annual energy savings potential of 212 million megawatt-hours in Germany.
In Australia, Boral has released a similar product called Luminesque, a patented concrete aggregate application using the same concept of absorbing natural night to glow brightly in the dark for hours following exposure to sunlight.