Now known generically across the market as sun tunnels or sun pipes, believe it or not, tubular daylighting systems are not all quite the same. The tubular daylighting market growning is day by day, so we here at Solatube have taken the initiative to write a piece on what we believe are the 7 most important things you should know or look out for when purchasing a daylighting system:
1. How does it work?
The concept is simple; a tubular daylighting system takes daylight from the rooftop of a building and pipes it through highly reflective tubing to a point in the ceiling below where a diffuser spreads the daylight into the room below. The original concept was patented by Solatube in Australia over 25 years ago.
2. Flexible vs Rigid - What's the difference?
To put it simply, daylighting systems with flexible tubes simply do not perform well: Flexible tube by its very nature is not a reliable means of transferring light; light entering a flexible tube will not necessarily continue to bounce on a downward path, but will scatter randomly in all directions (including upwards) as it bounces off the concertinaed surface of the tube. In-fact, independent test results have shown that Solatube's Spectralight Infinity tube material will deliver 10 times more daylight than a flexible system!
3. Reflectivity percentage - Why does it matter?
A 99.7% reflective material means that only 0.3% of energy (light) is lost each time light bounces inside the tube material — with 99.7% of the remaining light continuing on. So if the light bounces down the tube 20 times to get from one end to the other, a huge 94.17% of the original light is transferred with Solatube's Spectralight Infinity tube material. A seemingly small difference in the reflectivity level can result in a significant loss of light delivered into the room below. For example, a 98% reflective material would result in only 66.76% of the light being transferred after 20 bounces.