Also known as light tubes, light pipes or tubular skylights, sun tunnels transport natural light from the sun into your home. They allow you to transform a space where sunlight would not normally reach, such as hallways and passages. The idea may seem futuristic, but sun tunnels have long been gaining popularity as an alternative to artificial lighting.
What are sun tunnels?
Sun tunnels are tubes lined with reflective material, glazed at both ends. One end (on the roof) traps sunlight and the other comes through into the ceiling of the chosen room. The key difference is that, unlike windows, they can be installed almost anywhere. The pipe can go through the loft then into the ceiling above the stairway, for instance. This makes tubular skylights perfect for dark or windowless spots which would benefit from natural light or to supplement electric lighting. If the pipe is fed down the wall of the room above, you can even have a skylight on a ground floor!
Why install sun tunnels?
Aside from the reasons already mentioned, a sun tunnel can aid both the aesthetics and ambience of a building. Natural light is often warmer than artificial light, and a brighter space often means a happier environment. Sunlight from windows (or in this case tubular skylights) makes a space seems bigger and, to quote an old cliché, brings the outside in! Some people make a feature of having the changing light outside reflected indoors.
Another plus is energy saving. By making the most of free solar light, you will rely less on electric lighting. This means less money spent on light bulbs and electricity bills and less damage to the planet from fossil fuels.
The way sun tunnels flood a room with light means less artificial light is required to reach the same level of brightness indoors during daylight hours. On particularly sunny days, you may not even need an extra light source.
Some even come with additional ventilation, meaning they fulfil both the functions of a normal window. Ensure air circulation in your home to create a healthy environment.
Will I be able to see a sun tunnel on the roof?
Yes, the glass dome will slightly protrude from the roof, but they are pretty discreet. From indoors, they have a slightly industrial look, but this depends on the model, and they can make a great design feature.
How much do sun tunnels cost?
Prices start at around £200, plus installation costs. They are fairly straightforward to install, as major structural alterations are not normally necessary. They can be an affordable and cost-effective option for brightening up a space, reducing your dependence on electric lighting and therefore cutting your bills.
For all the reasons above, the more natural light you can get into your property, the better. And light tubes can be a great way to do it!