28 Dec Solar Tubes Becoming Popular in Fearrington Village
Many homes recently built in the village have included solar tubes in one or more rooms or areas in the home. The tubes have also become popular with owners of existing homes in the village as they learn about the energy, environmental, and decorative advantages of these popular natural light tubes.
Like skylights, solar tubes bring natural daylight into interior rooms. Solar tubes are available in several sizes (typically 10” and 14”), function as mini skylights, are less expensive, relatively easy to retrofit into an existing house, and are unlikely to experience problems such as rain leaks, heat loss, condensation or overheating. Several units may be necessary for very large rooms.
Solar tubes are available with from several leading manufacturers and installers. They are available with several options, such as a variety of different light diffusers (simply a snap on cover over the rim), night time lighting, daylight dimmers, and even integrated bathroom fans. Since they require no electricity to produce the light, they are super energy efficient, and you may qualify for a 30% federal tax credit (up to a maximum of $1,500) if they have the right U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (typically less than of equal to .30).
A solar tube consists of a small clear dome located suitably on the roof to collect sunlight into a highly polished and reflective tube that reflects the light down to a diffuser on the ceiling. They look like regular recessed lights, but they are not (although some models can easily be fitted with a light fixture for use as a light at night). The light has a natural quality and is sufficient to light a small room and to brighten a relatively dark larger room, hallway, interior windowless bathroom, or staircase. While they brighten rooms more on a sunny day when there is more sunlight, since it is typically brighter outside than inside, solar tubes help to brighten a room even on a cloudy day. On a bright moonlit night, they add an especially pleasant lighting effect as the moonlight is reflected through the tube to the ceiling diffuser.