Solatube have introduced a UK first, an enhancement kit for their standard Brighten Up® tubular daylighting system that meets Passive House standards. This award winning development is a real bonus to designers and builders who can now use daylight to light up inaccessible or closed off internal spaces without compromising the building fabric or performance of a passive designed house.
The world of tubular daylighting can be a little confusing not least because of terminology, there are many different names that are used, including; Solar Tunnels, Light Pipes, Light Tubes, Light Tunnels, Daylight Pipes, Daylight Tubes, Sun Tubes, Sun Tunnels, Sun Pipes, Sky Lights, Sky Tunnels, Sunlight Tubes and Tubular Skylights. Many of these terms are trademarked by manufacturers, suffice it to say there are lots of names but all describe a system generally comprising of an external dome, reflective tube and diffuser designed to pipe natural daylight into a building. Solatube a registered trade mark and the brand name for the original tubular day lighting system, the original design, patented in the 1980's, was the pre cursor to all modern tubular daylighting systems.
The standard Solatube Brighten Up® Series comes in two sizes — 250mm and 350mm diameter, the larger diameter providing a greater transfer of light. Both are compact enough to fit between standard UK joists they also include a range of diffuser options and ceiling fittings including integral bathroom ventilation kit and an electric or magnetic daylight dimmer and electric light. Using a tubular system can bring daylight deeper into buildings where natural light has previously not been an option so transforming dark, internal rooms into light, bright spaces.
Are some systems better than others? Below are 8 questions you can ask to help you decide on the best system for your project:
- Typically systems with roof domes collect much more daylight than flush glazed systems
- Systems with rigid tubes can outperform flexible duct systems by up to 10 times or more
- BBA certificates guarantee fitness-for-purpose and compliance to Building Regulations
- Systems with angle adaptors as standard are easier to install and eliminate extra cost
- Do you have a choice of ceiling diffuser? It’s the element you will see the most!
- Is the system double-glazed at the ceiling to eliminate heat gain/loss in your room?
- Ensure tube reflectivity is as high as possible, they vary from 99.7% to 86% per light bounce!
- The best sun tunnel type systems come with a wide range of accessories including; electric lights, bathroom ventilation, electric and manual daylight dimmers
The product has been tested in the UK as a building element as well as for its fitness-for-purpose and is the only tubular daylighting system with BBA Agrément certification covering all the current UK requirements for light transmittance, strength and stability, weather tightness, behaviour in relation to fire, thermal properties and durability.
By combining the standard Solatube Brighten Up® Series with the Energy Care® Optima enhancement even better thermal and acoustic properties can be achieved with U-values as low as 0.5W/m²K and acoustic insulating values of 49dB (Rw) which meets Passive House standards.
The standard series already has excellent thermal properties with a very low U-value of 1.3Wm²k (better than some double-glazed windows); but for those who are building to passive standards there has been no way of improving performance to the required level, this is now possible with the addition of the Energy Care® Optima kit which uses additional insulating components from the dome through to the ceiling diffuser.
The Energy Care® Optima components:
- Inner dome
- Insulated flashing
- Flashing insulator
- Climate control lens
- Tube insulation
Extra insulation has been including in the following areas
- At roof level. The inner dome, insulated flashing and flashing insulator combine to provide greater insulation at roof level.
- In the tube. The Climate Control Lens provides additional compartmentalisation to minimize air movement, and the multi-layer foil to BS/EN 12667 & ISO8302 (0.0345W/m2K) ensures the tube is highly insulated.
- At diffuser level. The Vusion ceiling diffuser is already double-glazed by means of the effect Lens situated just above it.
Combining the Energy Care® Optima enhancement kit with the Brighten Up® Series gives:-
- U-value as low as 0.5W/m²K
- Improved acoustic efficiency
- Meets passive house standards
- 5 additional components
- Available for pitched & flat roofs
- 10 year product warranty
- 99.7% reflective tube material*
- Up to 15 sqm light coverage
*A 99.7% reflective material means that only 0.3% of energy (light) is lost each time light bounces inside the tube material
Find out more about the Energy Care® Optima kit by clicking here or watch the video below