The facts about sun tunnel technology
The saying ‘you only ever get what you pay for…’ is worth bearing in mind when it comes to choosing a sun tunnel. You can buy a relatively inexpensive flexible duct system from the builders merchant or DIY outlet for a lot less money but when you compare the light delivery against 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. A light pipe test report carried out by the renowned Building Research Establishment, the 375mm Solarspot system was shown to produce 69% more light than the equivalent Solatube system the 290DS.
Why is a Solarspot better?
A Solarspot system is made up of three main parts:
- the dome
- the tube
- the diffuser
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 the tube 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 enters the top of the tube than on any other system.
The tube, or pipe, is where the light is captured and 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.
Figures of 95% or even 98% may sound equally as good but when it comes to efficiency of reflective light, every 0.1% makes a significant difference to the performance. 95% may sound impressive but in comparison a white emulsioned-wall is probably 92% reflective.
The diffuser 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.
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 systems, such as Solarspot®, use hi-tech, highly reflective, Vegalux® 99.7% technology to channel the light, whereas, flexible systems use a foil, air-conditioning style ducting to try to do the same thing.
How do you choose which system to buy and what difference will it make to the amount of natural light that you will get into your home?
Answer: A Solarspot® will deliver up to 30 times more light than a flexible system (in a typical installation). The Building Research Establishment (BRE) states a system with a reflective value of more that 99% which is very close to the specular reflectivity (99.7%) of the Vegalux material, was shown to out-perform the best flexible systems by at least 10 times and in some situations nearer 30.*
Why does anyone buy a flexible system? Because they are cheap to buy – but installation costs are still the same. To achieve the same light levels as one Solarspot you would need at least 10 flexible systems, a definite cost saving!
*depending on time of day.