Consulting services in optical system design, solar optics, computerized ray tracing of complex optical systems, and the design of light-piped sunlighting systems


Ross McCluney, Ph.D.

Research physicist, SunPine Consulting, 2007-present

Consultant to National Fenestration Rating Council, 2007-2009

Member NFRC Board of Directors, 2011-2013


Technical Consultant, Member of the Board of Directors, Sunflower Corporation, 2004-present

Principal Research Scientist, 1976-2007

Florida Solar Energy Center, Cocoa, Florida 32922

A research institute of the University of Central Florida

         Author and writer

                      Technical subjects for lay audiences

                      Environmental ethics, nonfiction

                     Publications list


          Environmental lecturer, visit:




         Recent books published:

                   Humanity's Environmental Future: Making Sense in a Troubled World

                   Getting to the Source: Readings on Environmental Values

                   SunPine Press, Cape Canaveral, Florida, © 2004

                   For more on these books:


         Click here for Detailed resume 


Brief Profile


Dr. Ross McCluney, Principal Research Scientist at the Florida Solar Energy Center from 1976 to 2007, has enjoyed a career spanning several disciplines. For his B. A. degree (Rhodes College in Memphis) he studied physics, mathematics, economics, philosophy, English literature, and religion. His M.S. thesis research (University of Tennessee in Knoxville) dealt with the diffraction of laser light by high frequency sound waves in water. Since retiring from FSEC, he works as a technical consultant and VP Research and Development at Sunflower Corporation.


While working as an optical engineer at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, McCluney studied the new field of holography at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, then pioneered at Kodak the use of holographic interferometry for diagnostic tests of optical systems. This work continued while he pursued his Ph.D. degree on a National Science Foundation fellowship at the University of Miami, developing a complex holographic interferometer for detecting minute changes in gas density inside a test cell made of optically imperfect clear acrylic plastic.


During his studies in Miami, McCluney became concerned about humanity’s destruction of Earth’s ecosystems and contacted the Miami regional office of National Audubon Society for more information. This led to the founding of the UM’s first student environmental organization, Environment!, and his work as an organizer of the University’s observance of the first Earth Day Teach-In, on 22 April 1970. While at UM, he taught a semester-long adult education class on South Florida’s environmental problems. An outcome of these experiences was the suspension of his physics studies for a year to work on a graduate assistantship at the University’s new Center for Urban and Environmental Studies, then headed by Carl McHenry. Working at CUES for the renowned ecologist, Art Marshall (, McCluney edited a series of essays about the environmental problems of South Florida. The University’s Graduate Research Council agreed to underwrite the project, and the manuscript was published by the University of Miami Press in 1971 as The Environmental Destruction of South Florida. This book reached a seventh printing in 1990, before going out of print in 1992. Copies are available from used book sellers.


Upon returning to his physics work, McCluney switched research topics to optical oceanography, studying the light scattering properties of marine phytoplankton. Following receipt of his Ph.D. degree in physics, he worked for three years as an optical oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, occasionally working with Jacques Cousteau on joint NASA/Cousteau projects.

In 1976 Dr. McCluney was appointed to the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, a research institute of the University of Central Florida in Orlando. His textbook, Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry was published by Artech House in 1992.


Over the years since 1976, Dr. McCluney has studied, written, and lectured widely on environmental topics, concentrating on the ethical and philosophical aspects of the subject. In the Fall of 2003 and the Spring of 2004 he taught the first semester-long university course based on the two books he completed in late 2003: Humanity’s Environmental Future and Getting to the Source.


He retired in 2007 from the Florida Solar Energy Center and moved to Chattanooga, where he continues his technical consulting work at SunPine Consulting and his environmental work through the Solar Valley Coalition, the Cherokee Group of the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and as a co-founder of the BEST chapter of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.



Biographical Sketch                                                                                             

Dr. Ross McCluney is a nationally recognized scientist, author, and designer. His research specialties include optical system design and evaluation, building window solar radiation analysis, solar cooker and solar water distillation system design. He collaborates with artist Susan Miller on the design and fabrication of artistic sundials for public spaces ( Since the first Earth Day in 1970—when he was a leader in the University of Miami’s observance of that event—he has been writing and speaking on environmental issues for a variety of audiences.

As an optical physicist McCluney’s interests are in the optical and illumination performances of a variety of novel solar lighting systems, including the relatively new tubular skylight products being marketed by several companies.

Dr. McCluney served as technical consultant on the design and construction of the world's largest sundial at Walt Disney World and smaller ones at the University of Texas Pan American Campus in Edinburg and at the Council Bluffs Public Library in Council Bluffs, Iowa. More information about these projects is offered below. Dr. McCluney provides technical consulting services to private and governmental organizations in a variety of areas.

He has written more than 60 technical papers—including several papers for general audiences on environmental ethics—and three books. He has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at the college and university levels. He supervised the M.S. thesis research of several students at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

His scientific career has spanned three and a half decades. Click here to see the entire list of his publications.

His primary interest is in the energy and illumination performance of fenestrations systems, but he also pursues work in the optical aspects of solar energy collection as well as issues of energy and environmental policy, including environmental ethics and scientific responsibility. He has served on the Boards of Directors of Indian River Audubon Society and Florida Audubon Society, and is currently Vice President of Floridians for a Sustainable Population.

Dr. McCluney’s research activities in fenestration have received national and international recognition. He is past chairman of ASHRAE Technical Committee on fenestration; a member of the daylighting committee of the Illumination Engineering Society; a member and technical consultant of the U.S. National Committee on Interior Lighting of the International Lighting Commission (CIE), and a past member of the CIE's technical committee on international daylight and solar radiation measurements. He has authored over 70 papers and two books, on both technical and environmental topics. His textbook Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry was published by Artech House in 1994.

Dr. McCluney obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in physics from Rhodes College in Memphis and his Master’s Degree in physics from the University of Tennessee. His research at the University of Tennessee involved the diffraction of light by sound waves. From 1966 to 1967, he worked as a development engineer for Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York, and developed a holographic interferometer for testing large optical systems. He used this technique at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida to develop a ten-pass holographic interferometer for measuring very small changes in optical systems.

Dr. McCluney received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Miami in 1973. His dissertation research was based on the scattering of light by marine organisms. He worked as a research scientist in optical oceanography for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, from 1973 to 1976. Dr. McCluney’s work there focused on the remote measurement of ocean color.

He has served as a consultant to Kenergy Corporation, 3M Company, Syracuse Research Institute, the Dade County Florida Department of Parks and Recreation, Public Works Canada, Synertech Corporation, T. J. Bottom Industries, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Verosol-USA, Office of Energy-Related Inventions, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Holder Construction Company (builder of the Team Disney Building and world’s largest sundial, Lake Buena Vista, FL), BRW Architects, Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Kell, Munoz, Wigodsky Architects, San Antonio, Morrison Associates Sundials, the U.S. Department of Justice, Cardinal Industries, and was technical consultant to the National Fenestration Rating Council from 2007 to 2009.