Passive Solar Daylighting: Solar Tube Skylights:

Velux Sun Tunnel Skylights
Velux Sun Tunnel Skylights

Using the brilliant light of the sun to illuminate a home's space instead of electric lights during the daytime hours is one of the simplest, least expensive ways to take advantage of passive solar energy.

While traditional skylights or roof windows do an excellent job of letting sunlight into a room, they are not always the most practical choice.

Many companies now offer Solar Tube skylights, more commonly known as sun tubes, as a way to get natural light to the interior of a home.

What is a Solar Tube Skylight?

Solar tubes, or tubular skylights, are comprised of three parts: an plastic or acrylic rooftop dome and flashing, a reflective light pipe, and an interior diffuser.

Sunlight is captured by the rooftop dome and is reflected down through the reflective light pipe, and is diffused into the room below.

Advantages of Sun Tube Lighting

Solar tube skylights can provide natural sunlight to occupied spaces below even when there is a distance involved, such as through an attic space).

The reflective tube can bend around obstructions, and can be up to 15 feet in length.

Tubular skylights can bring abundant amounts of bright light to hard-to-reach interior spaces. They are excellent at brightening up gloomy areas without regular windows such as closets and hallways without using any electricity.

A typical 14 inch solar tube skylight is capable of providing the light output of several 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, and brighten rooms evenly through the diffuser.

ODL Tubular Skylights
ODL Tubular Skylights

Some manufactures offer dimmer-style functionality through the use of motorized baffles which can reduce light output from 100% down to 2%.

Solar tube tubular skylights are installed quickly and easily, usually by a contractor. They are installed between rafters and joists, with no structural modifications needed to the roof. The acrylic dome is extremely durable and unbreakable, and blocks UV rays from entering the home, with no fading of furniture or carpets.

Energy Saving Benefits of Solar Tube Skylights

Solar Tube skylights excel at bringing bright, natural sunlight into interior spaces. Tubular Skylights do so while also minimizing heat gain or loss, unlike more traditional skylights. This results in energy savings not only from the reduced need for electric lighting, but also in reduced air-conditioning use.

Some of the more notable and reputable manufacturers you may what to check out are:

ODL Tubular Skylights
Velux Tunnel Skylights

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