Why a ‘Solatube Daylighting System’ is the most advanced ‘Skylight’

Skylights have been around in various styles for many years now and most of us have experienced a skylight at some stage during our life, whether it was a traditional square skylight, a tubular skylight or a plain old roof window.

Solatube Skylights vs Ordinary Skylights

Whilst all of these varieties have been created with one purpose, to bring natural light into our homes, very often there are an array of issues that are associated with these products.

Solatube has proudly been a world leader in skylight manufacturing for over 20 years (In fact we won the 1994 Design Awards for developing the world’s first tubular skylight) and a few years ago we set out to create a natural lighting solution that would change the way we think about daylighting.

Now, using advanced optical technologies and a deep scientific understanding of the benefits of natural lighting, Solatube introduces the world’s first Tubular Daylighting Systems, designed specifically to overcome ALL of the issues (Heat Gain, Heat Loss, Installation, Colour Rendition, Light Output) previously connected with Skylights of all types.



Heat Gain

Skylights, Roof Windows, Sun Tubes and Solar Heat Gain

Traditionally because skylights filter sunlight into our homes there is an additional heat load placed on that room and generally the bigger the skylight or roof window the more heat is transferred. This not only makes your room more uncomfortable but also increases the need for air conditioning & other cooling measures. Especially during the warmer summer months when the sun is at its hottest.

WERS (The Australian Windows Energy Rating Scheme) & the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) use a measurement called Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or SHGC for short, to judge a window or skylight products energy performance in terms of the amount of heat transferred into a room.

Unfortunately Skylights in Australia are not required to undergo the necessary testing to assess their SHGC performance. This means that as a consumer, it makes it difficult to compare Australian Skylight products effectiveness against heat gain.

Solatube Daylighting Systemsraybender 3000 technology Solatube Daylighting System

Our Daylighting Systems incorporate a wide variety of technological advances, including advanced optical technology in the dome, a patented protective coating on the tubing & a duel lens system in the diffuser, to name a few. We are proud of these completely unique system features and have had both of our 160DS & 290DS daylighting systems tested by the NFRC.

Our results of 0.33 where so impressive, both our 160DS & 290DS Daylighting Systems were awarded the prestigious Energy Star label in the USA.

Be aware some manufacturers will provide SHGC figures as some of the components they use have been tested individually. But these results would not be true for the system as a whole once it is installed. Be sure to check that any SHGC figures provided are for the ‘complete system’ installed, as ours is, rather than just a few of the components used.



Heat Loss

Skylights, Roof Windows, Tubular Skylights and Heat Loss

By their very nature a Skylight needs to be installed through your roof & into the room below. During the cooler months, this offers rising heat an easy form of escape, making the area draughty and increasing energy required to heat the area. Again the NFRC & WERS have produced a measurement designed to provide a guideline for heat loss performance for all window & skylight products. This measurement is called a U-Factor and is judged in units of 2-10, the lower the better.

Australian Skylights are not required to obtain tests in order to assess their U-Factor performance. This of course means that few Australian manufacturers have put their skylight products through these tests, making it difficult for you to compare these products & ensure they won’t impact on your homes energy efficiency.

Solatube Daylighting Systemslight tracker reflector Solatube Skylights

Our Daylighting systems have been designed specifically as a completely sealed singular system with a variety of cutting edge techniques used to provide exceptional insulating results.

Both our 160DS & 290DS Daylighting systems have again been tested by the NFRC and we are proud to announce that again our result of just 2.44 was very impressive, even compared to most double & even triple glassed windows available on the market!

Be aware some manufacturers will provide U-Factor figures as some of the components they use have been tested individually.

But these results would not be true for the system as a whole once it is installed.

Be sure to check that any U-Factor figures provided are for the ‘complete system’ installed, as ours is, rather than just a few of the components used.



Skylight Installation

A Skylight or Roof Window can only be installed directly above the room you want to brighten

light delivered Solatube Daylighting System

The way a Skylight works means they are very limited in where they can be placed within the home. Traditionally they can only be installed directly over the room they are to be installed in. The advent of Tubular Skylights, tube lights and sun tubes provided a little more flexibility with positioning. However they where still limited by obstacles in the roof and the tube length required to travel from the roof to the room. The longer the tube, the more light is lost.

Solatube Daylighting Systems

Our Daylighting systems use a unique and patented reflective tubing which allow our systems to travel over much greater distances, even around obstacles in the roof.

spectralight infinity tubing Solatube Daylighting System

In fact the 160DS can travel up to a huge 6m with limited light loss. The 290DS can travel even further – up to 9m with similar limited light loss results. How many Skylights can do that?



Colour Rendition

Skylights often don’t transmit ‘natural light’ they can look a bit ‘off colour’

Often, because of the quality of the dome, the tubing or even the diffuser, elements of the colour spectrum contained in natural light get lost in the transmission of the sunlight from the roof into your room. This causes the light to look yellowish, greyish or simply ‘off colour’. This discolouration means items in your home won’t look as intended. Coloured furniture and walls will look dull and lack the impact they once made.

Solatube Daylighting Systemssuperior colour rendition Solatube Skylights

The optical technology used in the dome and the reflective quality of our tubing means that our Daylighting Systems transmit 100% Colour Rendition, (with a 100% UV filter) into your home. This means you’ll get exactly the same light inside, as you see outside, which can truly transform the room. You can enjoy the colours in your home as they were always intended; bold, beautiful & natural. In fact our systems provide such quality results that they are the natural lighting product of choice for Architects and designers the world over.



Light Output

You can’t always control the light output with a Skylight

Ever considered having a skylight installed but then realised you had no way to turn it off? Many people also find it frustrating that skylights can produce too much light during the mid-day sun when they need the light levels less.

Solatube Daylighting Systemsstylish daylight delivery Solatube Daylighting System

Our Daylighting systems have been built with a variety of options available to you, the homeowner in order to provide exactly the control you need.

  • Our electric daylight dimmer, allows you to dim daylight from 100% down to just 2%, providing you with exactly the amount of light you want, no matter what time of day it is.
  • Our Glass Distractions, Decorative Fixtures range, allow you to choose the ceiling fixture and lighting effect you want depending on the ambiance or look you want to achieve in each room. Glass Decorative Fixtures also enhance the light output into the room, ensuring you get the purest of daylight into your room.
  • Our systems provide tested & measurable lighting outcomes. Which means we can provide a professional lighting design using daylighting solutions providing a consistent light output, regardless of the time of day or the weather outside, if that is required.

6 thoughts on “Solatube Daylighting System vs. Ordinary Skylights

    1. Hi Elizabeth, Is is a product manufactured by Solatube Australia or a general tube skylight product? Copy cat products often do not use a high quality roof flashing tailored to Australian Roofs, which is a common cause. Leaks also comes from other issues in the roof. Water can travel Meters along the underside of a roof before it hits the tube. We train all of our Certified installers is issues like this and can help rectify the problem if you contact us on 13 16 19.

  1. Hi, I’ve been told that vented skytubes (of all brands) necessarily require the removal of the UV filters to enable air flow, meaning they aren’t suitable to install in locations such as WIRs where they may result in clothing fade. Is this correct?

    1. Hi Kelly, UV filter are created though an additive in the plastic dome. There is no reason a vented tube skylight should not include this same additive in its dome. Skylights that vent though the tube are often poor performance products. High performance products will vent though a separate duct at the roof to a single ceiling fixture. This removes the risk of moisture and/or mould build up on the tube to ensure the highest reflective. All tube skylight manufacture by Solatube Australia include UV filters.

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