Tubular Skylights for Natural Homes

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solatube1There's not a single lamp or light fixture that can provide the same bright and cheery feeling of natural daylight. Even with big windows, it's hard to get sunshine into the darker, center interior of many homes.

Now, you can funnel in the rays right from your roof with a tubular skylight. These devices are comprised of a domed skylight that sits on the roof and connects to a metal tube capped onto your ceiling with a decorative fixture.

Mike Townsend is the owner of Natural Home Lite and he showed us how it works.

"We're pumping daylight into the home from the roof deck area," says Townsend.

The trick is the highly reflective material lining the cylinder, which can run up to 30 feet, allowing sunlight to funnel all the way to the center of a home.

"It's just bouncing the daylight through the tubing, into the dark area," Townsend says.

America Now visited a woman who had four solar tubes installed in her home. The house was brightly lit even without a single light turned on.

{jb_quote}"It changed my mood," Jeri Anderson says.{/jb_quote}

The solar tubes also changed her energy bills.

Her old, traditional skylights were streaming in heat and ultraviolet rays.

"The sunlight would come in and fade the furniture and fade the carpet, but you don't get that with these," Anderson says.

Each tube installation costs between $5,000 to $9,000 and can be installed in less than two hours.

They also come with options including dimmers and an internal bulb that can be used after the sun sets or on a cloudy day.

For dark homes lacking natural daylight, tubular skylights are a pretty bright idea.

Skylights can have a bad reputation for leaking when it rains, but most tubular skylights come with custom flashing, making them weather tight.

Additional Information:

Tubular skylights have three components: a round, domed plastic skylight that mounts on the roof; an 8- to 22-inch-diameter cylindrical metal tube with a highly reflective interior surface that is usually less that 12 feet long, but in some cases may be over 20 feet; and a diffuser that mounts on the ceiling.

Skylights require structural modifications to carry roof loads as well as a large, insulated light-well to bring the light into the living space, a tubular skylight is thin enough that it can fit between roof rafters or trusses and ceiling joists. The installation is much easier and less expensive.
Most tubular skylights come with very good flashing kits to make the roof penetration weather tight.
It's a great option for home offices, home daycare spaces, and homes for retired seniors-but not as good when homeowners are gone all day.
These aluminized surfaces often reflect more than 95% of the light striking them. But because the reflectivity is less than 100%, there are light losses with increasing length of these skylights. A tubular skylight delivering daylight through 20 feet of reflective tube will deliver significantly less light that one with just six feet of tubing.
Costs range from about $150 at the low end to over $600 for the largest, deluxe models, plus installation.

Manufacturers

Natural Light

ODL

Solatube

 Tube Size  10 inches
 13 inches
 18 inches
 21 inches
 10 inches
 14 inches
 10 inches
 14 inches
 21 inches
 Light Coverage  Area Sq. feet  upto 150 sq.feet
 upto 300 sq.feet
 upto 500 sq.feet  upto 700 sq.feet
 upto 150  sq.feet
 upto 300  sq.feet
 150 to 200  sq.feet
 250 to 300  sq.feet
 upto 500 sq.feet
 Light Output  upto 300 watts
 upto 500 watts
 upto 1000 watts
 upto 1450 watts

 3 - 100 watt  lamps
 5 - 100 watt  lamps
 NA
 Max. Tube Length  18 feet
 20 feet
 20 feet
 20 feet
 10 feet
 15 feet
 20 feet
 30 feet
 Light Reflectivity  98%  95%  99.7%
 Warranty  25 Years  Limited  Lifetime  10 Years
 Roof Type  Flat
 Pitch
 Curb
 Flat
 Pitch
 Flat
 Pitch
 Curb
 Daylight Dimmer  Switch  Not Included  Not Included  Not Included
 Approx.  Installation Time  2 Hours  2 Hours  NA
 Weather  Compatibility  Yes  Yes  Yes

Learn more at AmericaNowNews and SolarGadgets

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