The Energy Geek Video: Sun Tubes and Skylights


My first Energy Geek video! This is the companion video for the recent article on Sun tubes.

Don’t expect much production quality. These videos will be like this blog – unedited, not politically correct, lots of opinions. So if you’re expecting “This Old House” you better look elsewhere!

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FAQ for Solatubes

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6 thoughts on “The Energy Geek Video: Sun Tubes and Skylights

  1. Here in AZ, allowing extra heat into the house is a big issue. Would a sun tube be practical for this part of the world?

    • According to the manufacturer, “minimal heat is transferred” through the sun tubes. I use the popular Solatube model, and have never noticed heat in the output while I feel hot standing in the sun shining through my skylights.
      From a physics perspective (since I know you’re a numbers person), the diameter of the large Solatube is 14″, so the area is 154 square inches. When the sun is high, the sun provides about 1000 watts/square meter (1550 sq. inches). So, at most, 100 watts of heat will be transmitted into the house. It’s actually less than that because the Solatube filters out 99.9% of the ultraviolet. The light output at this point is listed as 6000 lumens, while a 100 watt lightbulb puts out about 1200 lumens, so you’re getting 5x the light output for the same amount (or less) heat than a 100w light bulb.

  2. Our two suntubes installed in our home offices work great, we love them. The water seal design on the dome is excellent with no leaking problems at all, a concern of ours.

    One option worth mentioning is if suntubes are installed in bedrooms and you want to block off the early morning light (say you wish to sleep late) there is also an option to have a dimmer switch installed (assuming access to electic wiring for the suntube).

    The wall dimmer switch operates a rotating circular blind inside the tube blocking or allowing light to come through. When vertical the maximum light comes through or fully horizontal it blocks out all light, somewhere in between gives you control over the amount of light entering via the tube. This is something we had not considered before the install, if you don’t want to wake up to the sunrise then the dimmer option is worth having.

  3. We installed a skylight in a very dark, windowless, bathroom. LOVE it! It adds light into a dark hallway too, and we enjoy the moonlight streaming through, too. But we’ve also added a cellular blind on a track, allowing us to reduce the cold air in winter and added heat in summer. The blind and track are quite unobtrusive and help a lot.

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