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Creative Uses for Sun Tunnels and Light Pipes


There are many ways in which you can introduce more natural light into your home or commercial premises with the help of the latest sun tunnels and light pipes. However, before we get into any details, we’re going to start with a brief definition, for the benefit of readers who may be unsure exactly what these devices are or what they are most commonly used for.

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What Are Sun Tunnels and Light Pipes?

Sun tunnels and light pipes are essentially the same thing, except that light pipes (or light tubes as they are sometimes also called) may be used in artificial lighting applications as well. Of those that are used solely for natural lighting applications, there are two primary types:

  • Reflective – This type of light tube features a highly reflective coating on the interior surface of the pipe. The coating is designed to ensure that as much light as possible is able to pass through the pipe and into the space below.
  • Fibre Optic – Some pipes utilise a fibre optic bundle for light transmission purposes, rather than a reflective coating. In common with their reflective counterparts, fibre optic light tubes are designed to transmit daylight to lower levels of properties without using any external energy source to achieve this aim.

Whether they are called sun tunnels, light pipes, light tubes, tubular skylights or tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), the products of this nature that you find for sale online will fall into one of the two above-mentioned categories. Now let us move on and discuss some of the more creative ways in which these devices can be used.

Illuminating Below Grade Rooms with Natural Light

If you have a fully finished and converted basement that the family simply does not use as often as you’d hoped, some strategically placed light pipes could help to make it a more appealing space. Many people do not like to spend time under artificial lighting while the sun is up, a fact that means converted basements are often only considered as a last resort as far as daytime recreational and relaxation areas around the home are concerned. However, with light tubes, it is very easy to solve this particular problem. By installing light pipes in the rooms above your basement, you can fill your below-grade space with natural sunlight and transform it into a bright and airy space that the whole family enjoys spending time in.

Breathing New Life into Dark and Dingy Bathrooms

Many homes in the UK have windowless bathrooms: claustrophobic spaces in which most people try to spend as little time as possible. Short of a knock-down and rebuild, there often appears to be no easy solution for owners of properties with this type of bathroom. However, to think there is no easy solution is to forget that sun tunnels are freely available and not particularly difficult to install. If you invest in quality skylights, and sun tunnels that extend through your loft space to your bathroom, you can give a previously unloved part of your home a brand new lease of life. With ample sunlight to illuminate your morning ablutions, you will find your bathroom a far more pleasant place in which to get ready for each new day.

Making Commercial Spaces More Energy Efficient

Another creative way in which you can put light pipes and sun tunnels to good use is to install them in commercial properties as part of an energy efficiency initiative. Together with improved insulation and higher-quality double-glazed windows, light tubes can help businesses to cut their daily energy usage by a significant amount. Artificial lighting does not draw a huge amount of current when considered as individual light fixtures but when considered in its entirety, it is often found to use a substantial amount of power over time. By decreasing your reliance on artificial illumination during daylight hours, you can reduce your energy usage, which will naturally result in lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

Making Them Part of the Architecture

Some of the most exciting ways in which sun tunnels and light tubes have been used recently have involved innovative architectural installations. Forward-thinking architects have started to experiment with the use of solar light tubes as architectural features, in properties with very modern interiors. This approach is in stark contrast to most existing use cases, in which designers have sought to introduce more natural light via sun tunnels whilst hiding the tunnels themselves from view. If you have a commercial property that serves as a workspace for creative members of staff, this creative use of light pipes can help to produce a very productive environment for such people.

For more information on how to use skylights and sun tunnels to transform residential and commercial spaces, please feel free to get in touch with us.

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  • Josh Hartim