Tubular daylights: What are they?

We all love light because it uplifts our mood and is necessary for us to see. When it’s bright and shiny, you are more likely to feel amazing than on a dark and gloomy day.

That’s why it’s unbearable to spend time in a dark and dank space with little or no light. You know, those dark basements, corridors, or office spaces that hardly receive any light?

We often have to keep electrical lights on throughout the day in such rooms to combat the darkness.


tubular lights


Although artificial light sources are a solution to such lighting issues, they are expensive.

If you choose to light dark spaces using artificial light solutions, you can expect 38 percent of your income to cover electricity bills. That’s too much.

Experts advise us to use only 8 -10 percent of our income on energy bills.

Therefore we need to find a cost-effective way of reducing power costs using natural light, and tubular skylights or daylights are a great option.


What are tubular daylight devices?

Tubular daylight devices are light tubes or pipes that collect, direct and distribute natural light to dark spaces in a building.

Although they do not give you a view of the sky like traditional skylights, they are ideal for light transmission in dark rooms on the lower floors of multi-story buildings.

You do not require the installation of roof windows to deliver natural light to these rooms.

They use 10 to 22 inch wide domes to capture and direct sun rays into aluminum tubes lined with specular reflective material.

The reflective material in the aluminum tubes ensures that any harvested light is directed right to the end of the tube, where it is used for lighting through luminaire ceiling diffusers.

Tubular daylights use the light harvested from the sun so efficiently that only about 0.3 percent of it is lost.

They are manipulated using elbow joints in a way that will route them around obstacles such as ducts and vents.

Using this installation method eliminates the need to create a straight vent from top to bottom(as often occurs with skylights), which ensures installers do not interfere with the structural integrity of a building.

Some tubular daylight tubing systems are 50 feet long. Their length makes them an ideal solution for anyone looking to deliver natural light to the core of a building in places such as basements and foyers.


Where do you install tubular daylights?


Tubular daylights are installed on low-pitched roofs made out of single-ply or built-up roofing materials.

A roof with a pitch of 6/12 is ideal for tubular daylight installations.  And where the slope is too high, extended curbs are used to provide a perfect point from which to install these daylight devices.

The spacing of tubular daylights in a building ( such as over a foyer ) is determined by;

  • The slope of the building
  • Height of the room
  • Reflective factors of the tubing
  • Illumination requirements of a room

These tubes are not large, but they are made of highly reflective materials that enable them to deliver a lot of light to rooms deep in a building such as lobbies, compared to their size.

They can transmit three times as much light as skylights of a similar diameter.

Ideally, you need one tubular daylight for every 300 square feet of space. If you are unsure of these calculations, it’s best to consult a lighting designer for accurate estimates.


How much light can you get from tubular daylight installations?

On average, one tubular daylight can produce 7,000 lumens or 60 watts of light.

Two 12-inch tubular daylights can light up a 43 by 24-foot room without glare or heat gain.

They can also adequately light up a room with a 12 – 22-foot high ceiling in conjunction with energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs.

In a sunny climate, that is enough to successfully supplement the electricity needs of a 48,000 square foot building.

Installing dimmers will further cut down on energy costs.


Factors to consider when purchasing tubular daylights

There are several factors to consider when purchasing tubular daylight.

  1. The visible light transmittance: Tubular light transmittance ranges between 0.15 to 0.55. The higher the visible light transmittance ratings, the better the lighting you get.
  2. The space to mounting height ratio: The higher the spacing to mounting ratio, the less money you have to spend on tubular daylights over a room such as a foyer.

The ratio varies from 1 to 1.5 if you want to provide enough illumination over horizontal ceilings.

  1. The U- factor: Tubular daylights with a low U factor are ideal because they reduce heat loss in a building which cuts down on energy costs.
  2. Solar heat gain co-efficient: If your building requires a lot of heating, your tubular daylights should have a medium to high solar heat gain coefficient of less than 0.45.


How much do tubular daylights cost?

It costs between $ 475 and $ 750 to install a tubular daylight.

Expect some additional costs for the domes, tubing, and diffusers needed to direct light into a room.

Tubular daylight covers are usually domed in shape to ensure light is collected from all around.

If you live in a predominantly sunny area, buy a dome with refracted lenses. It will filter out direct heat-producing rays and only harvest low-angled light.

Such a dome will significantly reduce radiation and heat gain issues in your home.

But if your area is usually cloudy, purchase a transparent dome that can collect all available sun rays.

If there are many trees and other obstructions, such as tall buildings around your home, you should lift the tubular daylight above the roof.

That may cost a little bit more than a standard installation, but it’s essential.

Some tubular daylight systems have dimmers you can use to control the flow of light into a room. Consider purchasing them too.


Benefits of tubular daylights

Why should you invest in tubular daylights? Well, they are easier to install than skylights and cheaper to put up too.

All you need is a thin tube whose diameter may not exceed 14 inches in diameter to capture sun rays. These tubes require installers to cut tiny holes through a roof, maintaining its structural integrity.

Tubular daylight tubes may exceed thirty feet, but that does not prevent them from lighting up rooms with the maximum amount of natural light possible.

Their malleability helps installers bypass installations such as HVAC systems to reach their destination, ensuring they do not destroy other parts of the building.

Tubular daylights reduce convective, conductive, and radiative heat, which cuts down on air conditioning and heating.

The glazing is often installed over a drywall interface which allows technicians to make it airtight.

And unlike skylights, they do not require installers to cut into roofs and direct light into the interior using shafts that need insulation and framing, a process that is often time-consuming and costly.

Combining tubular daylights, windows, and low-energy fluorescent lights will satisfactorily light up a home or commercial building.


Last word

That’s a lot of information on tubular daylight, but in summary, why should you install tubular daylights in your home?

  • They are three times more efficient than regular solar lights. Hence, they are an environmentally sound lighting solution that will help you shed light load and reduce heat gain in your home or commercial building.
  • Tubular daylights are a simple way of directing sunlight to dark areas in a building without interfering with its structural integrity. You can install them in a short time by cleverly bypassing wall cavities or closets to reach intended targets.
  • Tubular daylights rarely require modification and easily fit into any roofing system due to their flexibility. You can use them to supplement the electrical lighting system in your building. Their diffusers fit easily into any ceiling lighting system.
  • Tubular daylights have small diameters that contribute little or no solar heat gain to a space. Since they incorporate reflective materials into their design, you can use them to light up your home even when very low natural light is available.
  • The angle used to harvest light in tubular light installations ensures none is lost. They are also fitted with UV filters that protect interior furnishings and carpets from fading due to excess sun exposure.

Are you looking for an environmentally friendly, cost-effective way of lighting your home or office?

Install tubular daylights in your commercial or residential building today!



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