One of the quickest, easiest and greenest ways to bring natural light into your home is to install solar tubes. Solar light is free and eco-friendly and solar tubes can help you bring this natural light into your home.
What are solar tubes? A solar tube is a tube with a clear dome that collects sunlight from a rooftop into a highly reflective tube that reflects light down to a diffuser on the ceiling. In the ceiling, solar tubes look just like an overhead light fixture. The light from a solar tube has a natural quality and there are various sizes of tubes available for different size rooms. Solar tubes can be retrofitted into existing homes. Because of their relatively small size, they work with any roof support system without the need for reinforcing joists. You may also find Solar tubes referred to as: sun tunnel tubular skylights, solar powered skylight tubes, sun tunnels, sun tubes, tube lights or solar day lighting devices.
How do solar tubes compare to typical skylights? Unlike skylights, which are expensive to install post construction, solar tubes are inexpensive. Solar tubes are also unlikely to have problems associated with skylights such as overheating, heat loss, and condensation or rain leaks. Also, solar tubes will fit into spaces too small for full-sized skylights. Solar tubes are ideal for: Closets Laundry rooms Hallways Above Showers Second baths Office spaces without windows Imagine enjoying light in these small spaces without having to ever change a light bulb. Most solar tubes are 10 or 14 inches in diameter and work best in the smaller spaces mentioned above. However, today there are options up to 21 inches in diameter that can light kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms or rooms up to 25′ x 25′.
The Benefits of Solar Tubes Solar tubes provide light without the use of electricity, therefore reducing electricity costs and the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the use of electricity. In fact, when day lighting features such as solar tubes are used, lighting energy requirements decrease between 30 to 80 percent and because the light-to-heat ration is better with natural lighting than with electric lighting, using solar tubes may also cut down on cooling costs as well.
Natural lighting from solar tubes in a closet can put an end to the “is that blue or that black” guessing game. Besides being an eco-friendly lighting option that is healthy for the environment, solar tubes may offer health benefits to people as well. Studies have shown that natural, full-spectrum sunlight can offer a feeling of well being and help people overcome the winter blahs, also called SAD, or Seasonal Affected Disorder. Studies have also show that natural sunlight greatly contributes to increased productivity in the workplace, making solar tubes a great option for workplace or home offices.
Versions of solar tube skylights are available for purchase or installation from several manufacturers including Velux, Solatube International and Sun-Dome. Kits for do it yourselfers can also be purchased from home building supply stores such as Lowe’s. Kits comes with varying levels of preassembly to make installation easier. Lowe’s rates the skill level needed for installing a solar tube sky light as advanced but most that have tackled a solar tube skylight project claim that the project often takes less than two hours and require only common tools. Solar tubes are relatively easy and inexpensive way to go green and reduce electricity dependence. The natural lighting from solar tubes is better for you and Mother Earth too.