Passive Standard 'Brighten Up' Solatube 250mm & 350mm Diameter
Priced as a complete kit, the Energy Care Optima enhancements are added to any of the standard Brighten Up kits to create a Passive Standard tubular daylight system. The BBA Certified Solatube Brighten Up Series (pitched or flat roof) is enhanced thermally and acoustically to meet Passive House standards. Download the price list and kit summary in by clicking on the ‘TECHNICAL INFO’ tab below.This is the only BBA certified tubular light system in the UK and the only one to meet Passive standards.
Combining the Brighten Up Series with our Energy Care Optima enhancement gives even better thermal & acoustic properties
- 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
- Test data available on request
Energy Care Optima is the label given to the enhancements that confirm that Passive Standards are met by any Solatube product carrying this logo
For more options including ventilation kits, dimmers, lights & decorative fixtures and diffusers please call us on 01793 847 444
The Energy Care Optima components:
these are supplied in addition to the standard Brioghten Up kit, the combined solatube is called the Brighten Up +Energy Care Optima and priced as a single unit. The additions to the standard kit are as follows - see picture right
- Inner dome
- Insulated flashing
- Flashing insulator
- Climate control lens
- Tube insulation
At roof level …
The Solatube inner dome, insulated flashing and flashing insulator combine to provide greater insulation at roof level.
In the tube …
The Solatube 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 Solatube Vusion ceiling diffuser is already double-glazed by means of the Effect Lens situated just above it.
Solatube 160DS + Energy Care Optima
Solatube 290DS + Energy Care Optima
48 dB (Rw)
49 dB (Rw)
Up to 9m²
Up to 15m²
Max recommended tube length
The Brighten up Series systems (160DS / 250mm diameter or 290DS / 350mm diameter) with the Energy Care Optima upgrade can be installed down to as little as a 250mm roof construction depth (flat roof or vaulted ceiling application) without any modification to the two tubes that form the standard system. As supplied the kit will span up to 400mm without the need for extension peices.
Q.How can you tell if a tubular daylighting product meets UK building regulations?
A. Look for a recognised UK accreditation ...
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. The BBA (British Board of Agrément) holds a unique combination of UKAS accreditations within the construction industry; it is an independent non-profit distributing organisation, whose ambition is to provide reassurance to the construction industry that manufacturers’ products, systems and procedures are ‘fit for purpose’. A BBA-certified product, such as Solatube Daylighting Systems, means that product has passed a series of comprehensive assessments – including laboratory tests, on-site evaluations, quality management checks and inspections of production. Products that receive Agrément Certificates are recognised by building control, government departments, architects, specifiers and industry insurers. BBA certification a mark of quality, safety and reliability that provides reassurance of the product’s fitness-for-purpose.
... failing that, check the dome material is polycarbonate and not acrylic
In the UK, the regulations regarding fire spread at roof level are very specific and differ from those in most other countries, including those in continental Europe. Polycarbonate and acrylic react differently to fire and the UK building regulations categorize each material according to their rating; in the event of a fire, polycarbonate, rated a Tp(a) material, does not sustain a flame and will self-extinguish. Acrylic, on the other hand, does not self-extinguish and continues to burn — even if it becomes separated from the roof dome. For this reason, acrylic is Tp(b) rated. The BBA have confirmed to us that Tp(b) materials have "severe restrictions" as to their placement on a roof and their use in multiples.
So, while Solatube does offer an acrylic dome in other countries or for very specific applications in the UK that do not require building regulation compliance, the Solatube product range in the UK is always supplied with a fully-compliant, polycarbonate dome so our customers can be confident that their daylighting system will meet the relevant building regulations and they can install it without restriction and/or in multiples. Solatube's BBA Certificate confirms our polycarbonate dome meets the UK building regulation requirements.
If a supplier offering an acrylic-domed system does not point out the limitations associated with their product, they are probably best avoided as they clearly do not have a good understanding of the UK requirements. Indeed, a quick internet search will demonstrate that the more reputable suppliers in the UK offer systems with only a polycarbonate dome as standard.
Q. Why should I worry about building regulations?
A. Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. According to the government’s Planning Portal, the owner of the property is ultimately responsible for complying with the relevant building regulations. For these reasons, and for the obvious reason that most of us would want to use only safe, compliant products in our homes, it is important to be able to identify if a product is compliant.
"I would always look for a BBA-certified product - it tells me straight away that the product complies, no question." Building Control Officer
Some recently-introduced products are imported from countries where building regulations differ or are less stringent than those in the UK. If you are not sure about a product's compliance to UK regulations, ask the supplier to clarify - after all, it is your home and your safety that is at stake.
Q. What should I look for when comparing product performance?
A. Look for a genuine, criteria-backed guarantee
Solatube is the only supplier to offer a guarantee that is supplied with measuring criteria; Methodology for Determining Average Daily Light on an Annual Basis (ADLAB). The ADLAB is determined by measuring the light output of a system at each hour during daylight hours on the 21st day of March, June, September and December. To determine the ADLAB, these measurements are then added together and divided by the total number of measurements taken. To compare ADLABs, the systems compared must have the same ratio of Length of daylighting tube divided by the Diameter of the tube opening. This is called the “L over D ratio.” Testing must be completed by a certified testing agency.
Check light output measurements are taken over a period of time - not just at one point in the day
We believe it is better to have an even, comfortable level light throughout the day than a short burst of bright light at midday with dismal levels of light delivery when the sun is low in the sky. Solatube Daylighting Systems have been designed to deliver more uniform, comfortable levels of daylight throughout the day. We do this by using the patented lenses in our dome to ensure that the maximum low level light is captured, but also that bright, midday sun is controlled too. The result is even light delivery all day long, all year long.
Check you are comparing products of the same size
It may sound obvious, but comparisons that don't compare same sized systems have to rely on 'calculated' results rather than real life measurements and from our own experience we know this to be unreliable. We were once asked by a prospective commercial client to measure how much light would be transferred over a very long tube length (around 17 metres) from one end of the tube to the other. So we commissioned the BRE (Building Research Establishment) to test it for us. The result was of great surprise to them — not least in significant amount of light transferred from one end of the tube to the other, but the fact that the result was not what they had predicted it would be according to their pre-test 'calculated' results.
Q. Are the systems double glazed - and if so where?
A. Solatube Daylighting Systems are double glazed at ceiling level. This is important because it means the heated or cooled air in your room stays in your room and is not lost 'up the tube'. In a system that is double glazed at roof level, your precious heated (or cooled) air disappears up the tube, usually into the unheated (or uncooled) roof void — very inefficient!
Q. Are they really interchangeable with Solatube?
A. We have observed suppliers who compare their acrylic-domed product to the polycarbonate Solatube dome and suggest that the two products are comparable and interchangeable. The BBA have confirmed to us that an acylic domed product has severe restrictions as to its placement on a UK roof whereas the polycarbonate Solatube material does not; a supplier that does not point out the difference may be unaware of the regulations or are being evasive about their product's compliance and usage. Either way they are best avoided.
Q. What about thermal performance?
A. The Solatube Brighten Up Series has been tested by the Gronmij Technical Laboratories to have a u-value of 1.3W/m²K. We also offer an upgrade kit to allow you to further insulate your Solatube Daylighting System up to 0.5W/m²K u-value for the 160 DS and 0.7W/m²K for the 290 DS.
Q. Does the product have a CE mark?
A. With regard to CE marking, the Solatube product category is known as a Tubular Daylighting Device. This product category does not yet have an approved European Harmonised Test Methodology against which a CE Certificate can be measured, so no supplier of this type of product can at present align itself with an accredited CE Certificate.
Until an HTM exists, our BBA Certificate demonstrates Solatube products' fitness-for-purpose in the UK and confirms compliance to all UK Building Regulations including those relating to fire spread at roof level.
Q. Polycarbonate and acrylic roof domes — what's the difference and is it important?
A. In the UK, Solatube Daylighting systems are usually sold with a polycarbonate dome, but Solatube does offer an acrylic dome too in other parts of the world. Some suppliers offer only an acrylic dome (which some refer to as PMMA, short for Polymethyl methacrylate, or trade names such as Plexiglas, Acrylite and Perspex), others offer only polycarbonate. So what is the difference between the two materials and is it important?
Whilst there is some difference in the inherent strength of the two materials (polycarbonate is significantly tougher than acrylic) and transparency rating (acrylic is around 3% more transparent), the most important difference between the two materials is the fire rating. This is particularly so in the UK where our regulations with regard to potential fire spread across an external roof and to adjacent buildings differ to those in other countries — even those in continental Europe. This is important for both dwellings and non-dwellings because it impacts a building's safety rating and potentially its insurance cover.
Polycarbonate and acrylic react differently to fire and the UK building regulations categorize each material according to their rating; in the event of a fire, polycarbonate, a Tp(a) rated material, does not sustain a flame and will self-extinguish. Acrylic, on the other hand, does not self-extinguish and continues to burn — even if it becomes separated from the roof dome. For this reason, acrylic is Tp(b) rated. The BBA have confirmed that Tp(b) materials have "severe restrictions" as to their placement on a roof and their use in multiples, hence why Solatube comes with a polycarbonate dome as standard. Our BBA Certificate confirms our polycarbonate dome meets the UK building regulations requirements.
Tp(a) rated Polycarbonate – Compliant to all UK building regulations, BBA Certified
Main characteristics – extremely hard and durable, meets all UK building regulations and building control requirements
Typical applications – suitable for all commercial, public buildings and domestic dwellings that need to comply to building control regulations especially Part B
Tp(b) rated Acrylic (or PMMA, short for Polymethyl methacrylate, also know by trade names such as Plexiglas, Acrylite and Perspex) – Restricted applications only, not BBA certified
Main characteristics – good transparency rating, however fire rating means significant restrictions apply for applications requiring building control, cheaper than Tp(a) rated polycarbonate
Typical applications – significantly restricted in the UK owing to building control regulations
Please see section B4 for further information on UK building regulations at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/br/BR_PDF_AD_B1_2010.pdf
Q. Can severe weather or other impacts damage the Solatube roof dome?
A. Our BBA Certificate confirms the Solatube polycarbonate dome material has a good resistance to impact from hard bodies, such as hailstones, or impacts due to vandalism, and meets the UK building regulations requirements. Our polycarbonate roof dome is approved for use on high secure applications such as police stations and those requiring high levels of security. Indeed, our Solatube Daylighting Systems are Home Office approved.
A correctly installed roof dome will not disappear in a high wind, nor allow water ingress during wet weather. The systems are designed to support an imposed snow load of 1.1 kN.
Q. Can I specify a double-glazed roof dome?
A. Yes, we offer an optional inner dome designed for applications where thermal and/or acoustic insulating properties of the product are critical, such as Passive House applications.
Q. What does 99.7% reflective actually mean?
A 99.7% reflective material means that only 0.3% of energy (light) is lost each time light bounces inside the tube material — with 99.7% of the remaining light continuing on. So if the light bounces down the tube 20 times to get from one end to the other, a huge 94.17% of the original light is transferred with Solatube's Spectralight Infinity tube material.
Solatube uses only rigid tubing in its daylighting systems. It is now widely recognised that flexible tube systems are very inefficient in transferring light, however it is important to understand that rigid tube materials can also vary considerably in their levels of light transmittance. A seemingly small difference in the reflectivity level can result in a significant loss of light delivered into the room below. For example, a 98% reflective material would result in only 66.76% of the light being transferred after 20 bounces.
With Solatube's 99.7% Spectralight Infinity tube material over 94% of light is delivered after 20 bounces. With a 98% reflective tube material, less than 67% of light is delivered after 20 bounces
Q. How does flexible tube material compare?
A. Daylighting systems with flexible tubes simply do not perform well. Flexible tube by its very nature is not a reliable means of transferring light; light entering a flexible tube will not necessarily continue to bounce on a downward path, but will scatter randomly in all directions (including upwards) as it bounces off the concertinaed surface of the tube. Such systems are usually of poor quality and light output from flexible tube products is vastly inferior to that of a rigid tube system, indeed we are often asked to replace them with our Solatube Daylighting System. See the example below where one Solatube Daylighting System replaced two flexible duct systems.
Independent test results have shown that Solatube's Spectralight Infinity tube material will deliver 10 times more daylight than a flexible tunnel sun tube.
Q. How long (or short) can the tube be?
A. Ideally, the shorter – and straighter – the tube the better the level of light transfer. Subject to application, we recommend a maximum effective tube length of up to 6 metres for the Solatube 160 DS (250mm diameter) and 9 metres for the Solatube 290 DS (350mm diameter). For a residential installation into a pitched roof, the tube would typically be around 1.5 - 2.0 m long and for a flat roof or vaulted ceiling installation with no extension tubes the tube distance can be as little as 150mm.
Q. Will I gain or lose heat through the tube?
A. Cool Tube Technology is the proprietary material used in Solatube tubing that filters out heat-infused infrared rays to minimize solar heat gain. Furthermore, Solatube systems are double-glazed at ceiling level to prevent precious heated (or cooled) air escaping from the room below. Some other systems are double-glazed only at roof level which effectively means your heated or cooled air can be lost through the tube as it passes through the roof void.
Q. What's the longest Solatube in the UK?
A. The longest Solatube in the UK is an amazing 24 metres long! Several of these commercial Solatube Daylighting Systems were installed in a government building in South Wales to deliver daylight into internal rooms. We understand the longest system in the world is currently a Solatube Daylighting System installed in Italy which exceeds 26 metres in length. This system illuminates a dental practice in Milan — something to smile about!
Q. Why is it important that ceiling fittings are double-glazed at ceiling level?
A. A tubular daylighting system that is double-glazed at ceiling level means the thermal barrier is between your room and the roof void, thus your (expensive) heated or cooled air remains in the room below. If the double-glazed point is further up the tube, say at roof level, your precious heated or cooled air will disappear up the tube into the roof void.
Q. Are the glass ceiling fixtures and ceiling diffusers interchangeable?
A. Yes. If you wish to upgrade from the standard Vusion diffuser to one of the glass ceiling fixtures it will fit perfectly. Please note that the AuroraGlo, VividShade and QuadraFrost are available for the Solatube 290DS only and, as they require additional bracketry, they would not subsequently be able to be replaced with a standard diffuser or other glass ceiling fixture.
Q. Can I reduce the amount of light delivered through the Solatube ceiling fitting?
A. Solatube Daylighting Systems do deliver significant amounts of daylight and we are often asked if it is possible to soften or reduce the amount of light delivered. The answer is yes; by inserting one of our special lenses it is possible to soften, colour or reduce the light coming into your room. Alternatively, we offer an Electric Daylight Dimmer for rooms such as bedrooms or presentation rooms. For details of these options please see our accessories download.
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