Tubular Skylights: Natural Daylight Where You Least Expect It

While windows provide natural light to many of the rooms in your house, there are still others shuttered in darkness. With the advent of tubular skylight technology, you can now easily add daylighting to just about any area of your home.

By Larry Bilotti | Updated Jun 10, 2014 3:02 PM

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solatube light-diffusers-natural-lighting

Photo: Solatube International

Every room benefits from natural daylight.  The living room becomes more inviting and comfortable, the kitchen more suitable for cooking, dining and entertaining, the family room infinitely more enjoyable, and the bedroom and bath—light-filled sanctuaries and retreats.  But what about the interior rooms and areas of your home that don’t have the benefit of even a single window: hallways, laundry rooms, stairwells, bathrooms and closets?  The fact is, up until recently there was very little you could do short of flipping a light switch. Today, there are tubular skylights to bring natural light to just about any area of the house.

Solatube Daylighting

Illustration: Solatube International

Tubular skylights, also known as solar tubes, light tunnels, daylighting systems, are affordable, high-performance lighting solutions that bring daylight into interior spaces where traditional skylights and windows simply can’t be installed.  Using a rooftop dome to capture the sun’s rays, a highly reflective tube transfers the light indoors where it is dispersed through a ceiling mounted diffuser.

Unlike traditional skylights that need direct line of sight, tubular devices can be configured easily to avoid attic obstructions and deliver the light where it is needed—in some cases, as much as up to 40 feet with products from Solatube Interational, Inc. Since the tube itself is compact and, depending on manufacturer, available in rigid, adjustable and flexible designs, it is also more affordable and less labor-intensive to install. That means areas lacking natural daylight today can be flooded with light tomorrow—actually within a couple of hours for Solatube Daylighting Systems.  And, since natural light reduces the dependency on electric, installing a tubular skylight also results in energy savings.

So, where can you benefit from more natural light?

In addition to never being quite large enough, closets are intentionally made without windows, making the hunt for the right shirt, pants, shoes and belt more challenging.  Even with electric lighting, the true colors can be visually altered, making your navies look black and maroons look burgundy. The Solatube Daylighting System produces perfect color rendition so you can see with more clarity and accuracy.


Photo: Solatube International

While laundry rooms are no longer relegated to the basement or mudroom, they are still often tucked into small, windowless areas of the home—from the kitchen pantry to the upstairs hall closet. Dim conditions not only make it difficult to perform necessary laundry tasks, but make the job that much more undesirable.  Bright, natural light from a tubular skylight will not only make sorting, folding, treating stains, and pairing random socks easier, it will make the room feel less cramped.

Despite being well-traveled passages, hallways are notorious for being dimly lit. If you have a narrow hallway with no natural light, you probably find yourself flipping on your electric lights frequently—even during the day. With a well-placed Solatube Daylighting System, bright, natural light can be delivered easily to hallway interiors. And, since the device is designed with a patented, light-capturing rooftop dome that redirects low-angle sunlight and rejects overpowering midday summer sun, you can also be assured of consistent natural illumination throughout the day.

Stairwells that lack adequate lighting can be dark and dangerous. Tripping on a step or missing a handhold on the railing can lead to serious falls. Depending on its location and design, you could also be missing an opportunity to highlight one of the most interesting architectural features in your home. A tubular skylight can flood the space with natural daylight, dramatically improving visibility and appearance.



Photo: Solatube International

If you have an interior bathroom with no access to windows, you already know the issues it presents—and the dependency on electricity it requires.  In the bath, tubular skylights not only provide a smart daylighting solution, they can be outfitted with a variety of flat-, recessed-, and decorative-mount ceiling fixtures, as well as warming and softening lenses, ventilation, dimmers and occupancy sensors.

Of course, tubular skylights, like traditional skylights, do share one problem. When night falls or clouds pass overhead, the light disappears or fades. Solatube International, a leading manufacturer and innovator of daylighting products, offers an inventive solution with their Smart LED technology. When there’s plenty of sunlight, the tube delivers natural light. Too much light, an optional motorized baffle dims the output. At night, energy-efficient LEDs automatically turn on. The result, a seamless—and energy efficient—blending of natural and LED light throughout the day and night.


This post is sponsored on behalf of Solatube International.  Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com