Harnessing daylight

Manufacturers of high-performance daylighting systems, Solatube utilises advanced optics to significantly improve the way sunlight is harnessed and diffused within commercial and residential interior spaces. The innovative Australian company is renowned for revolutionary cost-effective designs that introduce light to traditionally challenging areas.

Florian Mehler has specified Solatube products for a wide range of educational design projects, and highlights their ability to excel in situations where the challenge of capturing and delivering natural light is complex.

“I must say that Solatube is a really good product to use, especially in the educational sector,” he explains. “Given that the length of corridors between classrooms can be quite substantial, the Solatube is really ideal for getting natural light into these circulation areas, or indeed any area that’s hard to reach with a normal window.”

Mehler adds that Solatube products also offer an ideal way to provide evenly distributed natural light to classroom environments.

“For instance, even if you have a classroom that faces north or west, you will not always have the exact same amount of light on all parts of the desks,” he says. “Yes, you can solve this by switching on the lights. However, the natural daylight is just unbeatable in this instance, as it gives true light. Therefore we prefer to use that. There’s also the option to dim or shut down the Solatubes if required, so it’s very beneficial.”

Proven performer

Solatube systems are also a feature on a recent development at Sacred Heart Primary School in Cabramatta.

“Essentially, we built a new learning street between three existing buildings and amalgamated them all, tying to incorporate some good environmental design principles in terms of natural light,” says project architect James Buskin from Quinn O’Hanlon Architects. “We also used Solatubes in isolated internal areas with no external access. We also used them to boost light near the canteen. It was all about making these spaces more enjoyable to live in and work in.”

With previous experience with Solatube products, Buskin says the decision to use their systems on the Sacred Heart project was simple.

“We used the commercial Solatube product, which we’ve used on a number of other schools as well,” he says. “On this project we did some non-standard stuff with it, so it wasn’t a typical install. We had light shafts that penetrated well below the building, which involved building a custom shaft and support structure. We’ve had good experiences with Solatube in the past, and it was certainly the same on this occasion.”