Many builders are often left in the dark when it comes to integrating the right kind of daylighting solutions in their projects. With different natural lighting options available in the market, what exactly defines a high performance daylighting system?

A high performance daylighting system is required to provide a working source of light that offsets overhead artificial lighting for more than 80 per cent of the daylight hours in a year without negatively impacting the energy efficiency of a building or the comfort of its occupants.

Architects have, for some years, been advocating the benefits of ‘daylighting’ to the building industry. Occupants of buildings designed to welcome natural light inside also echo the sentiment, with several studies showing lower absenteeism, better morale and higher productivity among employees working in areas with better natural light.

However, to clear the growing confusion across the building industry about daylighting systems, leading tubular daylighting system expert Solatube Australia urges Aussie builders to understand the ‘differences’ and not be left out of pocket.

The goal of a tubular daylighting technology is to create consistent lighting throughout the year, regardless of the season. Standard skylight products will provide huge spikes of light and heat during the summer while often not meeting the minimum lighting requirements during the winter. Solatube’s tubular daylighting systems overcome these issues by rejecting overpowering summer sunlight and using lens systems to capture winter sunlight.

Unlike traditional skylights and windows, Solatube products use INFRAREDuction technology to remove the harmful portions of UV and heat while transferring beautiful natural light into the home.

When considering a skylight system that’s intended to be a working source of light, there are a number of important factors that homeowners, designers and builders need to sort out. Most of us are aware of the discomfort of sitting next to a window all day without a blind. Doing so throughout the year, be it at the workplace, in a classroom or in a kitchen, can become an undesirable experience impacting so many aspects of our life.

The Australian-owned and operated Solatube, which has been at the forefront of the daylighting industry for 30 years, says it’s important to understand the difference between a tubular skylight and the relatively new market of tubular daylighting systems (fitted with tubular daylight devices or TDDs). Until recent times, architects were restricted to using natural light as a feature through glazing, roof windows and other products due to issues such as glare, lighting consistency, energy efficiency and impact of UV on a space. Architects are now able to overcome these issues by designing TDDs into energy efficient buildings but many roofers and builders are losing money by making the mistake of quoting a typical ‘tube skylight’ product.

“The technologies required to achieve such results in buildings is relatively new and will be more expensive than your typical tubular skylight and will require documented lighting designs and certification. Through our commercial networks we can ensure that we update our builders and architects on the latest product innovations, which in turn helps builders and roofers, in particular, quote appropriately and meet their bottom line,” explains Solatube’s Brett Dickson.

Fast facts from Solatube daylighting experts:

Independent test results have shown that Solatube daylighting systems allow in the full spectrum of visible wavelengths of light that provide clear vision, but block virtually all of the ultraviolet wavelengths that can degrade building interiors.

Light to Solar Heat Gain Ration (LSG) compares visible transmittance (VT) and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) with the ratio revealing how well a daylighting product transmits useful visible light rays while filtering out problematic heat-carrying infrared rays.

Solatube daylighting systems create the ideal balance between VT and SHGC to deliver pure, bright daylight without added solar energy that can cause heat build-up and force air conditioning units to work harder.