The facts about sun tunnel technology
It’s often said that ‘you only ever get what you pay for…’ and the saying is certainly borne out when it comes to buying a sun tunnel. It is possible to buy a relatively inexpensive flexible duct system from the builders merchant or DIY outlet but when you compare the light delivery side-by-side with a Solarspot system, the two are poles apart. The light level from a Solarspot system with a 2 meter tube is likely to be around 20 to 30 times greater than that of a cheap flexible system.
69% brighter than a Solatube
Even the best of the more expensive rigid system cannot compete with the superior performance of the Solarspot technology. In a recent test at the renowned Building Research Establishment, the 375mm Solarspot system was shown to produce 69% more light than the equivalent Solatube system the 290DS.
What makes Solarspot so much better?
The Solarspot system is basically made up of three main parts; the dome, the tube and the diffuser.
Starting with the dome, the Solarspot dome is designed to perform in three ways. When the sun is low in the sky, the RIR Light Funnel positioned in the dome at the mouth of thetube, uses Fresnel lenses to reflect low-level light down into the tube to harvest more light in the morning and evening. On cloudy days, the RIR lens refracts light in from all directions to maximise the amount of light gathered from a 360 degree capture zone. And on bright, sunny days, the direct light is able to pass straight into the tube without any obstructions ensuring that more light eters the top of the tube than on any other system.
Moving down the system to the tube, or pipe. This is where the captured light is transferred from the roof, through the loft and down to the room below. All Solarspot systems use Vegalux reflective tubing to transfer the light. At 99.7% reflective, no other tube will give you more light.
Don’t be fooled by other manufactures quoting figures of 95% or even 98%. When it comes to efficiency of light reflect, every 0.1% makes a significant difference to the performance, particularly over longer distances. To put some perspective on the figures, 95% may sound impressive but a white emulsioned wall is probably 92% reflective.
The illustration below shows how the different materials deliver very different levels of light.
Finally there is the diffuser. The is the visible bit on the ceiling that distributes the light evenly around your room. Solarspot diffusers are designed to blend a seamless as possible into the ceiling whilst providing a seal against cold or heat as well as providing a UV shield to stop the fading of your carpet or soft furnishings.
Beware the flexible fiend!
When buying a sun tunnel you will find a number of different systems out on the market. These systems fall into two different categories; rigid and flexible. Rigid systems, such as Solarspot®, use hi-tech, highly reflective (in our case Vegalux® 99.7% – the most reflective material in the world) to transfer the light – flexible systems use a foil air-conditioning style ducting to try and perform the same task.
So how do you choose which system to buy and what difference will the technology make to you or the amount of natural light that you will get into your home?
The answer is simple. A Solarspot® will deliver up to 30 times more light than a flexible system (in a typical installation). But don’t take our word for it. In recent tests carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) systems, a system with a reflective value of more that 99% – very close to the specular reflectivity (99.7%) of our Vegalux material – was shown to out-perform the best flexible systems by at least 10 times and in some situations nearer 30.
So why does anyone buy a flexible system? Well the simple answer is that they are cheap. However, when it comes to installation, the cost is the same. So when you consider that to achieve the same light levels as one Solarspot you’d need at least 10 flexible systems it’s immediately apparent that the Solarspot is the best value solution.
*depending on time of day.