Solar Tubes are one of the most sought after natural lighting application. With the trend of rising energy costs worldwide, these are really worth the consideration. They are one of the avenues by which you can use passive solar energy
Lighting is very much important in every room may it be the closet or the living room. We all commonly use the luminaries like CFL's, Tube Lights etc to light up our room. Whereas natural lighting is far better than artificial lighting and its effects are absolutely wonderful on humans according to many studies & research conducted.
These are among the oldest forms of devices used for daylighting. This was conceptualized by the ancient Egyptians who used crude methods to allow passage of light to the inner most of the chambers of the grand pyramids.
Paul Emile Chappuis a photographer and an inventor (1816 – 1887), patented the earliest reflective systems in 1853 & 1855 for the different types of reflectors he invented. The company Chappuis Ltd continued to manufacture the daylight reflectors until 1943. The factory was destroyed in 1943 during the bombing in world war two.
After a brief time period this concept was rediscovered by Solatube and was patented in the year 1986.
You must have observed the use of skylights in homes or offices and the wonderful natural light which it permits to get inside the room. But these are different. The only common thing between the solar tube skylight and a normal skylight is they need to be installed on roofs.
These are tubes which transport the sunlight inside a room. The main aim of using them is to provide natural daylighting. The tubes lead from the rooftop to the room or space which requires natural lighting. They transmit large amounts of light with a fraction of heat losses.
Solar Tube Outside View - Pic By Debra & Kelly
On any typical day the dome which acts as a lens collects the sunlight incident on it. The dome shape enables to capture sunlight right from dawn to dusk, heck it even captures moonlight! Now-a-days Fresnel Lenses are being implemented which further improve the collection of light when the sun is low on the horizon.
The concentrated light enters the tube from the top dome.
These tubes are lined with highly reflective materials or have a highly polished surface. This highly reflective material allows the passage of light by using the principle of continuous reflection of light.
A solar tube skylight can produce light which can be equivalent to electrical lighting of 700 to 800 Watt lighting fixtures. Again this will be dependent on the sun azimuth, the cloud cover, the direction of installation of the solar tube skylight.
Even in cloudy days you can get light output equivalent to a light given by a light source of 150 to 200 Watts.
The application for solar tube skylights is to provide natural daylighting in your room. They are mostly used in small spaces where there is less chance of outside contact like bathrooms, closets, walkways etc. They can also well suit a place where a window or a skylight is impractical to use.
Used in Living Room - Pic by Lou
Determining the dimensions of the space will aid in deciding on the size of the tubes required. They are available in varying diameters from 10” and above. The larger tube diameters are preferred in the industrial applications.
For obtaining better lighting these must be placed or installed near reflecting surfaces so as to make that particular area a haven for the wonderful daylight.
Used in House - Pic by Janis Marinelli
The Solar Tube Skylights contribute to your lighting energy savings, sunlight is free!
Easy Installation with no requirement to making dry walls, no use of frames or additional construction work.
No Maintenance Required as they are completely dust free, moisture free
Fits in small places especially in places where the skylights won’t fit.
It has other potential benefits of improved aesthetics of a room due to the sheer presence of natural light.
Helps maintain privacy while offering you the light you need, the best example for this is your bathroom.
There is a negative aspect of using solar tube skylights, due to increased exposure of flooring mats, curtains to the sunlight, they may lose their original color and quality because of the ultraviolet component of sunlight which the lens is unable to block completely. This can be very easily avoided by using a better quality light dimmer.
You also have the option of using an electronic dimmer by which you can completely stop the incoming light from the tube. Ensuring that you always have control on the quantity of light.
By using them in your existing home or office, you can improve the eco-friendliness of your home or office space. Apart from the health benefits which are associated with natural light. Doesn’t that feel great!
Using them in the day is justified, but what about using them at night. There is a solution to this, use a solar hybrid lighting system. Use the sunlight during the day and an inbuilt lamp inside the tube at night. Isn’t that best of both the worlds’. Take a look at our tubular skylight selection guide for you to make informed decisions.
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