Is solar tube lighting eco-friendly? That’s the question my father-in-law barked down the phone at me a few months ago!
He was building a garden office and wanted my advice on eco-friendly lighting.
Solar tubes use natural sunlight to light your home, which means you can reduce your reliance on traditional electricity.
But before you make the switch, it’s essential to understand whether or not solar tube lighting is actually eco-friendly.
In this article, I’ll examine the pros and cons of using solar tubes to light your home.
I’ll also explore some of the environmental benefits of using solar tube lighting over traditional lighting methods.
So, grab yourself a cup of plastic-free tea and settle down to learn more about the environmental advantages of solar tube lighting!
Solar tube lighting (also known as solar tubes, sun pipes, sun tunnels, light tubes, or daylight pipes) is a form of natural lighting for your home.
It uses reflective tubing to bring direct sunlight into your home, illuminating the space with free and renewable energy.
There are two main types of solar tube lighting, rigid and flexible:
Solar tube heads (the part that sticks out of your roof) come in various sizes, usually ranging from 250mm to 500mm in diameter.
The size you choose will depend on the amount of light needed for your space and the layout and structure of your roof.
A professional can help you determine the best size for your particular needs. However, as a general guide, I’d say you need the following:
It’s also worth bearing in mind that you can use multiple solar tube lights in the same room to get as much light as you need.
Solar tube lighting and skylights are similar; they both use natural light to illuminate your home. However, there are also crucial differences between the two options.
Skylights are typically larger and can be used for light and ventilation, whereas solar tubes are smaller and only provide light. Skylights can also be opened to allow for fresh air circulation, whereas solar tubes are sealed units.
Solar tubes may offer a more cost-effective option and can be installed on any roof surface, whereas skylights can only be installed on flat roofs and may have higher installation costs.
In terms of their environmental impact, both solar tube lights and skylights can help reduce your reliance on traditional electricity and lower your carbon footprint.
Ultimately, the choice between solar tube lighting and skylights will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
This depends on various factors. However, as a general rule of thumb, on a sunny day, a 10” solar tube can produce natural light with a brightness of around 300W light bulbs.
This again depends on various factors, such as the size and type. However, in general, solar tube lighting has a lower initial installation cost compared to skylights.
In my experience, an entry-level solar tube installation would set you back around $750, whereas a comparable skylight would be double that.
Yes, solar tubes are safe when properly installed by a professional or competent DIYer. They have no moving parts or electrical wiring, making them safer than traditional lighting.
There are no real interior heat gains when using light tubes.
Yes, solar tubes will still work in winter, although they will not be as efficient due to reduced sunlight.
However, they can still provide natural light and help reduce your reliance on traditional lighting and electricity during the winter months.
Yes, solar tubes can provide natural light for indoor plants and help them thrive.
However, it’s worth noting that solar tubes do not provide the same level of intensity as traditional grow lights or direct sunlight. Also, if you’re looking to boost your plant’s growing power, don’t forget the coffee grounds!
Solar tubes, unlike conventional skylights, are not usually coverable. To help diffuse light, you can apply a film to the surface, but you can’t use shades as you would with a skylight.
No, solar tubes are not noisy. They don’t have any moving parts and are completely silent.
Solar tube lighting is a great eco-friendly option for your home.
Using sunlight to light your home and reducing your reliance on traditional electricity has to be a good thing.
However, you also need to consider the manufacturing process. Ask yourself questions such as:
My advice would be to buy a product made in the U.S. and avoid imports from countries with lower quality and ethical standards.
Ultimately, whether or not solar tube lighting is eco-friendly depends on your individual usage and circumstances.
But for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and embrace renewable energy, they can be a great choice.
Do your research, consult with professionals, ask me questions, and weigh the pros and cons before switching to solar tube lighting in your home.
Do it right, and it may just bring some much-needed sunshine into your eco-friendly lifestyle!
Do you use solar tube lighting? Or do you have another ingenious way of getting more natural light into your home? Drop me a line and let me know.