Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Solatube skylights

It lights up the stove area
As mentioned in the last post, our verandah works well, but it does reduce the amount of light coming in through the kitchen window. We deliberately chose narrow strips of opaque laserlite for the verandah roof to make sure we were not going to get too much heat in the summer. We have overcome the decrease in window light by installing a “solatube” in the kitchen ceiling.

This clever device “captures” light in its dome on the roof, and efficiently transmits the light through the roof cavity into the kitchen. We placed the solatube above the stove so the cooking area is now bathed in good light even on a dull day. The kitchen has ended up with about the same amount of light as before, but more strategically located.
Excuse the mess but look at the light

We installed another one in the garage and it lights up the area in the middle, that doesn’t get much window light. Solatubes are so good they even capture enough moonlight (when the moon is bright) to bathe the area in subdued light in the middle of the night. This is handy because we store firewood in the garage and do not need to turn the light on some nights.
The dome looks small but provides plenty of light
The solatube works so well, it took a few days to get used to the amount of light that came through the diffuser that is mounted on the ceiling. At a glance it looks like someone had left a light on, and our first reaction was to “turn off the light”. But of course the solatube is completely passive and works purely by capturing sunlight. If you are interested in looking at their display their website is .


Vibe said...

That's amazing! What a great invention! Glad it lights up the inside of your dwelling places so well, and so passively!

Andrew and Heather said...

Thanks for the comment Vibe. You're absolutely right and the design is such a simple solution to the problem of increasing light to darker areas.

Ramsey said...

Hi A&H,
Can I ask about the solar tube and the building in bushfire areas regulations. In NSW I was under the impression that they were not allowed as they tend to melt or shatter. Is your cover plastic?
Please let me know if there is a bushfire approved model out there as I am interested in free lighting supplied by the sun.
Your articles are fantastic.

Andrew and Heather said...

Hi Ramsey,
Our model is not a bushfire approved model but I believe there is one available at an extra cost. I suggest you contact the manufacturer ( an agent for more details. Thanks for your comments and I am glad that accident didn't turn out to be as bad as it looked.

Ramsey said...

Andrew and Heather thanks for the info on the solatube.
Did you see the comment I posted in one of your older posts?
I have some questions on your water tank/shelter/cellar.
I would love to know what you have done to strengthen it, how you put the door in etc.
Best Regards

Andrew and Heather said...

Hello Ramsey,
Sorry for the delay in replying. Our concrete fire shelter tank was built by the tank manufacturer. They modified their normal tank by strengthening the walls and building the door into the structure. We put it in over 10 years ago and although it wouldn't meet today's regulations we are confident that it would work well. Send an email to us at if you would like further details. PS we didn't use it on Black Saturday as we were too busy fighting fires.

Lino Kosters said...

People see a lot of benefits in solatube skylights. Usually, they just install one in the garage, then in the bedroom or in the attic. The natural light they provide to a certain area is really helpful because you don't have to turn on the lights during the day and they help lower electricity costs. This makes them efficient.

Arrys Roofing

Chantay said...

If you showed me that picture without any context whatsoever, I would’ve thought it was a round fluorescent installment rather than a skylight. I really like that it doesn’t consume that much space in the roof, but it can still provide light for a huge area inside the house.

Chantay Smithingell

Free Hit Counter