Evelyn Lee

SOLATUBE SKYLIGHTS

by , 12/28/06

Solar Tube, Solatube, Solar pipe, skylight, daylight, daylighting, natural light, architectural daylighting solutions

Skylights are a great addition to any house, as they bring in more natural light – cutting down on artificial light electricity costs, as well as promoting good health for a home’s occupants. Unfortunately, however, skylights are hard to install in most pre-built homes because they require so much roof real estate. Also, unless the sun is at the right angle and there are absolutely no clouds in the sky, skylights don’t always illuminate a space in a way that makes their cost worthwhile. Thats why we love Solatube – a smart technology which takes skylights one step further by refracting, reflecting and concentrating solar light into a small tube using mirrors and lenses.


Solar Tube, Solatube, Solar pipe, skylight, daylight, daylighting, natural light, architectural daylighting solutions
Solatube’s efficiency comes from its patented Raybender Technology and Light Intercepting Transfer Device (LITD). These two items allow Solatube to utilize light that is not necessarily in the direct path of the tube and redirect it to provide optimal light from sunrise to sunset.

Available in three models, a compact 10″, a larger 14″, and an even larger 21″ Solatube demonstrates how even a small opening can bring a lot of illumination into a room, using forward-thinking technology.

+ SolaTube
+ Installing a Tubular Skylight

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65 Comments

  1. dr. thomas h.j. pieters July 26, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Hi, What material is the tube made of and what is the retail price per lnft? Thks

  2. Great White- Shark: Ear... July 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I love it, thanks for great article.

  3. JAS Jamie Shorb December 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Another option to Solatube is the SUN GLO Tubular skylight. A new patent pending low profile flashing. Check it out at http://www.sunglo.biz

    Unlike Solatube which is mostly plastic and only has a 10 year warranty, SUN GLO has a metal flashing and a 50 year warranty.

  4. GoogleUser2 November 23, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Compare also Heliobus Lightguide. In some case it might be also a good solution! (www.heliobus.com)

  5. joyed June 21, 2012 at 6:14 am

    you have made some interesting points in this article you really know alot on this topic.
    Thanks for posting it.We are interested in you tubular sky lights for our show office for the current project in hand.

  6. georgeireton February 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    We installed two of the 10″ light tunnels in an otherwise dark living room. It resulted in waaaaay more white light than we really wanted. I went down to the local glass shop and got a small piece of pet screen fabric (beige in color)and cut out circles, then taped them to the inside of the trim ring. This works great! We now have the perfect amount and shade of light for the space, and it only cost $1.65 FYI

  7. Dr. Thomas H.J. Pieters November 6, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Solatubes are pretty expensive to buy all the way from the UK for ordinary people living in poor economies. In Sri Lanka we could manufacture it for less than 5 times the UK amount. That is what we will have to do! Dr. Thomas H.J. Pieters, Inventor/Owner Smart Fiber Skylight Parent Company, Sri Lanka.

  8. fe October 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I installed 3 solar tubes in new construction and left the film on for protection. Now it is baked on and i can’t get it off. Any suggestions?

  9. ImagineNL September 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

    solartube solution for 3rd world countries: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOl4vwhwkW8&feature=player_embedded

    Brilliant i would say :-) )

  10. rkarchitect January 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    a natural brightness to be directed to your convenience , an good green concept.

  11. chris edwards November 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Any suggestions on how I can fit a blind over the skylight at night – I am trying to limit the sunlight waking my kids up at 5am!

  12. Frank Leo March 16, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I tore out your Solar Tube advertisement from the, I think it was called, Adventure Life magazine while waiting in my doctors office and it might be what my daughter wants for one of her bedrooms in their home. I’m going to give her your web-site and we’ll see what she and her husband think of it. I think it’s a great system, we’ll see what developes. Thanks.

  13. ehagenmu March 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    WE HAD A SOLAR SKYLIGHT INSTALLED IN OUR BATHROOM IN 1996. THE LIGHT HAS BEEN WELCOMED, WE HAVE ISSUES WITH IT.IT HAS FADED OUR VINYL LINOLUEM AND THE SHOWER CURTAIN. WE ARE REPLACING THE FLOORING WITH HARDWOOD. THEY SAY THE WOOD WILL NOT FAD. I PLAN TO REPLACE THE SHOWER CURTAIN. IN THE HEAT OF SUMMER IT BECOMES WARMER IN THE BATHROOM. IS THERE SOME KIND OF A FILTER I COULD PUT IN TO LESSEN THE LIGHT AND HEAT IN THE SUMMER? CAN THIS BE DONE INSIDE THE BATHROOM, BECAUSE WE ARE IN OUR 80′S AND CAN’T GO UP ON THE ROOF? i’LL BE WAITING FOR AN ANSWER. ELAINE HAGENMUELLER

  14. webmocker November 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Like the Solatube, but don’t like the “hotspot” on the ceiling.
    Has anyone seen one installed in a recessed area, essentially creating a skylight box effect?
    If so, does it work aesthetically, in your opinion?

    The goal would be the effect of a skylight without less risk of leaking and hail damage.

  15. jamret November 21, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I live in a town house. Can my home owners association board restrict me from puttinng them in?

  16. terri2009 October 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

    That’s a good way to conserve electricity. If I where to build my own solar tube, what are the materials need to build one?

  17. wrye October 11, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Looking for a solar tube light that can be mounted to a 12-12 pitch steel roof.

  18. tsj July 9, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Solar tube is a perfectly fine term to utilize as an industry generic term. No one owns a trademark on it and there are no issues in utilizing this term.

    If you do not want your trademarked term utilized, that is another topic all together…

  19. lmc June 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    I wanted to inform you that the term “solar tube” is not recognized by the National Fenestration Rating Council which rates and measures skylights. To ensure the accuracy of this article and future articles, I wanted to provide you with the appropriate industry accepted terms.

    We suggest any of the following as a substitute for the term “solar tube:”

    • Solatube Daylighting System (if you wanted to refer to the Solatube brand name)
    • Tubular Daylighting Device (if you wanted to refer to the specific category)
    • Tubular Skylight (if you wanted to refer to the generic category)

    Often times, consumers get confused between our brand, Solatube, with the term “solar tube” and we are working to clarify any misrepresentation. With that being said, I was wondering if you would be willing to make those small necessary changes to your article.

    Many thanks for your consideration of this request.

  20. jasmeen May 24, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Dear Sir

    We are a well established real estate developer in Malaysia. We are interested in you tubular sky lights for our show office for the current project in hand. Please suggest few of the relevant products for our options.

    Thanks & best regards,
    Jasmeen

  21. mystified75 April 29, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Due to some leaking issues we resently removed the skylights in our kitchen. I was hoping to get them replaced but my husband and our contractor talked me into getting a solar tube. I’d never seen one in person but it sounded like a good idea. It’s natural light from the sun. How can that be a bad thing? They just got installed yesterday and when I came home from work to see the finished product, I have to say I HATE it. I miss the natural light I got from my sky lights. The solar tubes produce such an obnoxious bright white light that it’s overpowering. I feel like I’m on stage, with someone shining a spotlight on me. I would only recommend them to someone who has vaulted or cathedral ceilings. Our 8ft ceiling and small kitchen is over powered. After investing the money, I now feel like I’m stuck with them. My advice would be not to purchase a solar tube until you see them installed elsewhere first so you can see the brightness for youself . I also wouldn’t recommend installing them unless you have high, raised ceilings.

  22. mhshockey11 April 14, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I was reading many of your comments on here, and as a personal worker at a Tubular Skylight Manufacturer and personal solar retailer I though I could clear up a few things. Tubular Skylights don’t require any light bulbs what so ever. The light you see produced is coming from the sun. The Highly reflective tube is whats directing the light through your diffuser into your home. I have created some educational content and even have a few videos of tubular skylights that you can visit at my Tubular Skylights link. Hope I can clear some things up.

  23. ruthom November 19, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    We are building a log home in East Texas between Tyler & Canton and would like to include 13 tube lights in the construction. The article was wonderful, however I did not see to whom I should direct my inquiry regarding the sales and installation of the tube lights. Perhaps I just missed it? Please let me know to whom I should email the inquiry.
    thnx,
    Ruth

  24. Eco-Building Products October 1, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    For pricing and information on Solatube Skylights (kits, parts, light add-on kits, ventilation kits, et cetera) please visit our green building materials website: http://www.eco-buildingproducts.com/category/daylighting_kits_

  25. julie September 7, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I want to know how to take off the cover of my solar tubr without breaking it ,to replace the bulb.

  26. kc5hvy July 26, 2008 at 4:32 am

    I want some skylight prices.

  27. karl moses jomen July 4, 2008 at 5:54 am

    this design is very good. can i request for the details of this design. thank you.

  28. thimble May 22, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Can these be installed through a Spanish tile roof?

  29. Barb April 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Do Solatubes transmit UV rays ,for winter greenhouse/gardening applications?

  30. Karen White March 14, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    I am looking for a local vendor that installs both the solar tube skylighting and solar attic fans. I live in Fayetteville, NC with a zip code of 28306.

    Thank you
    Karen

  31. bb February 16, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Does it block uva/uvb rays or would I have to wear sunscreen/block in the house?

  32. John Izzo February 7, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Hello,

    John Izzo here, President of Sola-Brite of Pleasanton, Calfifornia. We are a “Premier” Dealership for Solatube International in the Bay Area, specifically serving the East Bay Counties of Alameda and Contrac Costa as well as San Joaquin and San Francisco counties. We have a full service showroom located in Pleasanton. Please visit and see what a difference a Solatube can make in your home! We know that you will be impressed!

    The showroom has all sizes of Solatube installed, with/without accessories and have the new Designer Touches available for your viewing as well. Either myself, Cindy or Bill would be happy to provide you with a demonstration and answer all of your questions. We are open Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Saturday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

    Sola-Brite provides installation in the counties mentioned above. All of our installers are Certified Installation Consulants and expertly trained in Solatube installations.

    Contractor? or just like doing it yourself? We sell do-it-youself kits at our showroom in Pleasanton. We also ship and deliver products. Call 925-600-1400 or email us at sales@solabrite.com for pricing.

    Up to 1 year same as cash financing available!! Free Consultations availalbe.

    Visit Sola-Brite at http://www.solabrite.com or email sales@solabrite.com for additional information

    The Sola-Brite Team
    “We Brighten Your World”

  33. Nightfall Dragon January 8, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Do you know of any cons? I would like to know of any before I think about putting them in my house. Do you know if they can be put in a basement or floor if there is a floor above? Please reply quickly–I need the information by Thursday the 10th.
    Thank you.

  34. Renaissance Builders November 15, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Hi,
    I amTom Romak the owner of of Renaissance Builders a licensed building contractor and a Solatube Dealer in the San Franisco Bay area. I offer a full range of the Solatube skylights and the Solar Star Attic Fan. (an attic fan powered by the sun which removes both heat and moisture from your home’s attic area). If anyone in the Bay area has any questions regarding Solatube products and what they can do either for your home or business in the way of energy savings, contact me either by phone 408-720-1100 or toll free 1-888-888-098 and by e-mail info@sjsolatube.com. Solatube skylights quailify for energy tax credit per the Energy Bill 2006 passed by Congress. Contact me with your questions, I can help.

  35. Scott Lange November 13, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    For those of you in Northern Nevada who are interested in Solatubes, give us a call! Sun-E-Concepts is Solatube’s authorized Premier Dealer for all of Northern Nevada, including Reno, Carson City, all of Douglas County, as well as more distant areas like Fallon, Susanville, Truckee, and all Lake Tahoe communities. We have over 10 years of experience, and we would love to brighten your day!! SUN-cerely, Scott & Wendy Lange, Owners. http://www.sun-e-concepts.com

  36. Jeremy at Sola-Lite Texas November 6, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Sola-Lite Incorporated is the Premier Solatube Dealer for San Antonio and South Texas. If you live in this area and have any inquiries, please contact one of our Daylighting Experts at http://www.solalitetx.com/210-764-7652. As mentioned above, if you live elsewhere you may also visit Solatube International’s website (www.solatube.com) and you will be able to locate a dealer worldwide.

    A question was raised by Pete on Sept 9. Yes, there is a HUGE difference between Solatube and Sun Tunnel. First, a Solatube has patented technology in the dome that gives it twice as much Effective Daylight Capture Surface than a Sun Tunnel. This technology is called Raybender 3000 and the Light Tracker, which redirects ambient and southern light into the Solatube. This is extremely beneficial during cloudy and winter days. Sun Tunnels do not have this technology. Next, Solatubes use a heavy guage, seamless all-metal flashing to attach the Solatube to the roof, which also allows us to be placed on metal roofs as well. The most dramatic difference is in the tube lining. Solatube is lined with Spetralight Infinity, which is recognized as the most reflective material on earth. Sun Tunnels use a considerably less reflective material that actually alters the color of the light as it comes into your home. Because of the amount of light entering the tube, and its reflectivity, Solatubes can be run 20 to 30 feet with minimal light loss. As mentioned previously, running Solatubes through second floors is not commonplace, but Solatube’s ability to transfer light these distances, is why we are able to bring light downstairs. Next, Solatube offers an assortment of diffuser (ceiling lens) options to meet your needs. If you have a Premier Solatube Dealer in your area, you also get a few more perks. Premier Dealers, such as Sola-Lite Inc. in San Antonio, are bold enough to light their entire showrooms with nothing but pure, natural light from Solatubes during business hours. You don’t have to believe a thing we say, just come and see for yourself! Next Premier Dealers offer Certified Installation from technicians that must meet stringent requirements from Solatube International. I hope this helps.

  37. Cynthia Donaher November 6, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Solatube is an amazing natural daylighitng system that is easy to install, affordable and brings natural light into any room in your home or work space. If you are looking for a Solatube dealer in your area please visit
    http://www.solatube.com, you can enter your zip code and the nearest dealer to you will appear.

    Have a Bright Day!

  38. Richard North October 7, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    We had a solar tube installed in our Living Room – it was rather dark what an amazing difference it makes the lighting is natural and it doesn’t give the appearance of a spot light. I only wish I had enough nerve to do it three years ago when it was first suggested.

    Tickets to go the Home Show to visit the Solar Tube display $18.00
    Parking while at the Home Show $10.00
    One 14” Solar Tube installed $545.00
    The Improvement in Lighting in our Living Room – Priceless

    Thanks Solar Tube for developing a solid product at an affordable price.

  39. srinivas September 27, 2007 at 9:08 am

    hey… any contacts… email id, pricing and do some business… quickly…

  40. Jóvenes Por la Ecolog... September 26, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    [...] Visto en Inhabitat [...]

  41. Pete September 9, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Just wondering if there is a difference between a solar tube and a sun tunnel?

  42. peter worsley August 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Your solatube sounds perfect for my problem as I have a dark basement . which would be enhanced with natural light… only a slight problem… I live in Spain….! What can you suggest. Could you beam be one over???

    have you agents in Europe??

    thanks Peter Worsley

  43. Dathan at Solar Concepts August 8, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Hello to all, I just came accross this site and being the president of a Solatube dealership in Phoenix, Arizona; I’ll try to go through and answer some of the questions people have posted here. First off to locate a dealer nearest you go here : http://www.solatube.com/homeowner/index.php and enter your zip code and it will give you the closest dealer. In responce to the question about the color. Yes, Solatubes produce a very white light. They use the most reflective tubing in the world (99.7% reflective) They not only transfer just about the entire amount of light that enters through the dome, they also leave the sunlight it’s true color. When sunlight is introduced into a room that has always been lit by incandescent lights, the difference is shocking. Many people will turn on the lights for fun after a Solatube goes in and they say “interesting, the electric light doesn’t add more light; it jsut makes everything look yellow and old.” For anybody that thinks the light is a little too white; you can go to a theatrical supply and purchase some “gels” It’s simply some sheet plastic like mylar that you can get in different colors and transperancies. The gel film is designed to be used in very powerful spotlights. They are designed to withstand extreme light and heat. It’s ironic; the Solatubes don’t put out any heat but if you put some types of window tint inside the tube when the light reflects down it can concentrate the light at the diffuser level which will melt tint. If you use a gel to “cream up” the light a bit, get something barely off-white. That usually does it. Solatube carries filters that can be installed to tone down and soften the light, but not to change the color. If you wanted to constantly adjust the light to different levels though, you would need the Daylight Dimmer System. Solatubes can be installed through floors to get to basements or 2+ story homes. Only 2 or 3 times have we done this on an existing home. On one for example, the tube came throught a closet on the second floor down into the kitchen below. In the kitchent the diffuser was not in the most ideal location but had to go there. We have two homebuilders here that we put Solatubes in to the basements for. All of the extension tubing goes in just before the drywall is installed. After the home is done we come in and finsish each end.(roof/ceiling) Solautubes are capable of transfering the light down very long runs because of their Infinity Tubing. With the 10′ for example; the tubing can run over 20 feet with virtually no light loss! The Solatubes can be installed into just about any house or commercial structure. Solatube has a commercial department that you can contact for help regarding commercial applications. Hope this info has helped. If your in Arizona and are interested in a Solatube you can get our information at http://www.lightingarizona.com

  44. christy August 2, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Can I light a ground floor flat which has two flats above it? I think it would require additional angles in the tube skylight, a longer than usual length of tube, and perhaps mounting the tube skylight on the side of the building -with the light collector above roof level. Possible?

    Christy

  45. Evelyn Lee Evelyn July 27, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Hello Everyone and Thanks for your inquires. Unfortunately at Inhabitat we just report on items, we are not the distributer or manufacture for the items. For any information regarding the items that you may be seeking, I suggest you contact the manufacturer directly – through the links on the post above. Thanks again for reading.

    Best -
    Evelyn

  46. Wunlym Shim July 27, 2007 at 11:39 am

    I’m working in a bakery and we have two sets of offices in Kingston, Jamaica. I’d like pricing on your light.

  47. sandra July 12, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    need a price for 2 tubeskylights for bathrooms in honolulu, hawaii. thank you.

  48. edith m campbell July 10, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Need price and location near or in Long Beach, CA

  49. Eric July 7, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Can Solar tubes be used to get light to various locations on the first floor in a 2nd story home?

  50. Dorothy Taylor June 22, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    How do turn down the brightness, if the tube makes the room too bright?

  51. J High June 12, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    How can I find out prices? Am remodel a room that used to have a window and have to remove the window so will only have ceiling light.

    Thanks

  52. barbara salan June 11, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    i am interested in two installed don’t know how to get in touch with someone to buy and install thanks

  53. J May 16, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    “make the light look more natural”? solar tubes use the most natural light available! In fact, most people are pretty surprised when they learn that natural sun light is way whiter than all fluroecents and HID sources- the nice warm glow of incandescents is possible because of the wasteful, burning filament. If this coloring is more appealing, I suggest getting a colored lense for your solar tube, works like a charm.

  54. Lynnette Radford May 12, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    I am looking for a solar tube with a built in fan, do you carry this?

  55. Lynnette Radford May 12, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I am looking for a solar tube with a fan for the bathroom.

  56. al thomas April 26, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    I need prices.

  57. Gail Dedrick April 23, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Yeah, I am concerned about the unnatural whiteness of the light, too. I hate the blueness of Low-E glass and I am looking for something to warm up our rooms.

  58. Julie April 21, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Just had 2 installed. Light is a lot “whiter” than I would like. What other diffusers are available to make the light look more natural?

  59. Terry Hynes April 19, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Can you please advise me of the nearest supplier and if your recent offer of two for one still exists. I am keen to install three solar tube skylights.

    My address is – 281 Top Grass Road RD8 Dannevirke – phone 06 374 5761 or preferably during the day –
    0272 41 5113

  60. Giovanna Rossman April 11, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    I would like your brochure on your solar light tubes with the inside night light on a dimmer. Please send me the prices and options available. Gigi Rossman , 700 Briggs Avenue, # 27, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

  61. Lasun Dada April 1, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    How much does each cost. Can you provide suppliers in New Jersey

  62. Jeremy Ellison February 11, 2007 at 1:16 am

    Changing a light bulb in a Solatube is a snap. The diffuser, or fixture, is easily removed by pulling down on it. The light bulb can then be changed out. On older Solatube models, one has to line up 4 “zip-ties” and push upwards to replace the diffuser. On Solatube’s newest models, the 160 Daylighting System and the 290 Daylighting System, the Diffusers just pull off, and just as easily push back on. The light kits put out amazing light at night. Solatube also has a couple other features such as the Daylight Dimmer, and the bathroom ventilation kit.

  63. Melissa Techman December 30, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Is it a pain to change the light bulb?

  64. Mark December 29, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    I have one of these in my home, and I’m surprised that your article doesn’t mention the option to have a light fixture within the Solatube. My otherwise very bright home has a short hallway that was rather dark, so I installed a Solatube containing a light fixture. So during the day, I get great natural light, and at night, I use the electric light contained within the Solatube (on a dimmer of course)! It’s fantastic.

  65. Let There Be (Natural) ... December 28, 2006 at 11:32 pm

    [...] Evelyn Lee, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP over at the Ihabitat blog has a great post on solar tube skylights. We have specified solartube skylights for many of our residential renovation projects. They work great for getting natural light to interior spaces with no windows; powder rooms, closets, stairwells, storage rooms. They even have a model with a vent kit for showers. [...]

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