Being aware of the differences and performance of natural lighting options in the market

Recent industry trends are seeing some builders being left in the dark and out of pocket when it comes to daylighting solutions. The main difference between a high-performance daylighting system is the requirement to provide a working source of light, designed to offset overhead artificial lighting for more than 80% of the daylight hours in a year without having a negative effect on the energy efficiency of a building or its occupants.

For some years architects have been saying that ‘daylighting’ is good business for builders. It’s a sentiment echoed by the inhabitants of buildings with natural light, with repeated studies showing lower absenteeism, better morale and higher productivity for those employees in areas with better natural light. But this growing trend is now resulting in confusion across the building industry – and leading tubular daylighting system expert Solatube is urging Aussie builders to understand the “differences” and not be left out of pocket.

The goal of a tubular daylighting technology is to create consistent lighting throughout the entire year. Standard skylight products will provide huge spikes of light and heat during the summer while often not meeting the minimum lighting requirements during the winter. Tubular Daylighting systems overcome these issues by rejecting overpowering summer sunlight and using lens systems to increase capture of winter sunlight.

UV is another important issue commonly associated with traditional skylights and windows. Solatube products are significantly unique as a combination between their dome and INFRAREDuction technology removes the harmful portions of UV and Heat while transferring beautiful natural light that humans thrive under.

We all understand the discomfort of sitting next to a window, all day, without a blind. Imagine multiplying that by 365 days a year for your working condition, learning in schools or even cooking in the kitchen for a few hours. There are a number of key objectives that any home owner, designer or builder needs to be keep in mind when considering a skylight system that’s intended to be a working source of light.

Professionals in the construction industry are being impacted by a lack of understanding of the differences and pitfalls of not achieving the results required in these buildings. Architects and owners are requesting these products as working sources of light and many builders are being left out of pocket by quoting inferior products which will never meet these requirements

The Australian-owned and operated Solatube, whose focus on using natural light lowering energy ratings, innovation and advancing technology has kept them at the forefront of the industry for 30 years, says it’s important to understand the difference between a tubular skylight and the relatively new market of tubular daylighting systems (fitted with tubular daylight devices [TDDs]). The confusion lies in the fact that until recent times architects have been restricted to using natural light as a feature through glazing, roof windows and other products due to issues such as glare, lighting consistency, energy efficiency and impact of UV on a space. Architects are now able to overcome these issues and design TDDs into energy efficient buildings and many roofers and builders are losing money due to making the error of quoting a typical ‘tube skylight’ product.

“The technologies required to achieve such results in buildings is relatively new and will be more expensive than your typical tubular skylight and will require documented lighting designs and certification. Through our commercial networks we can ensure that we update our builders and architects on latest product innovations, which in turn helps builders and roofers, in particular, quote appropriately and meet their bottom line,” explains Mr. Dickson.

Did you know?  – Fast facts from Solatube daylighting experts:


  • Independent test results have shown that Solatube Daylighting Systems allow in the full spectrum of visible wavelengths of light that provide clear vision, but block virtually all of the ultraviolet wavelengths that can degrade building interiors.


  • Light to Solar Heat Gain Ration (LSG) compares visible transmittance (VT) and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).  The ratio reveals how well a daylighting product transmits useful visible light rays while filtering out problematic heat-carrying infrared rays.


  • Solatube Daylighting Systems create the ideal balance between VT and SHGC to deliver pure, bright daylight without added solar energy that can cause heat build-up and force air conditioning units to work harder.


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