We Are Sunshine

Sun-Starved Town Installed Giant Mirrors for a Brighter Winter

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

While some might try to convince you otherwise, we all know that humans naturally need, crave, and relish sun exposure. Case in point: It took more than 100 years to accomplish, but one Norwegian town in 2013 completed its mission to bring some winter rays to its sun-deprived citizens.

CNN reported on the small town of Rjukan, Norway, which took drastic measures to avoid its annual 7-month dark spell caused by the towering mountains surrounding it. The town placed three mirrors with a combined surface of 50 square meters on a ridge on a mountain, flooding the otherwise shadowed town with up to 600 square meters of sunlight.

“As well as improving the vitamin D intake of residents, tourism officials hope that the sun mirrors will boost the city’s winter visitor numbers,” CNN’s Tom Jordan wrote.

Of course, sun seeking is nothing new, and Rjukan residents have been trying to identify ways to get more sun exposure for many years. The $850,000 mirror project was actually first conceived more than a century ago. A bookkeeper’s suggestion to use a mirror to reflect sun into the town was published in the local newspaper, but technological limitations prevented further action. At that time, they had to settle for building a cable car to allow residents to go to the top of the mountain to get some much needed sun exposure. According to CNN, the efforts were spearheaded by the head of a local aluminum and renewable energy company who wanted his workers to get some sun exposure in order to boost morale and improve efficiency.