Tube Skylights for Barndominiums
Reader EMANUAL in SPRINGDALE writes:
“Read your article about skylights, but what about Tube skylights?”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:
Bringing natural light into a post frame building is a relatively easy prospect, provided the room is adjacent to at least one exterior wall. Windows and glass doors have been flooding interiors with light for centuries. But when an interior room is in need of daylight, options become far more limiting—namely skylights.
Since 1980s, tubular skylights (a.k.a. solar tubes, light tunnels, daylighting devices) have been gaining popularity as an easy way to bring natural light into just about any room of a barndominium. More compact, less expensive, and easier to install than their traditional counterparts, they are lighting up today’s barndominiums and shouses in a much smarter and more efficient way than ever before.
Tubular skylights, like their name suggests, are tube-shaped devices where, through a rooftop lens and reflective-lined tube, capture sunlight and deliver it to interior building spaces. Consisting of three main components—a dome, a tube, and a diffuser—they are more compact than standard rooftop skylights and, as a result, more affordable and less labor-intensive to install. With designs featuring rigid, adjustable, and flexible tubing, they can also be configured for spaces where a conventional skylight is not feasible.
A tubular skylight uses a rooftop dome to capture sun’s rays. Light is then transferred indoors through a highly reflective tube-shaped duct. A ceiling mounted diffuser disperses natural light to the room below.
Unlike traditional skylights needing direct line of sight, tubular devices can be configured easily to avoid attic obstructions and deliver light where it is needed—in some cases, as much as up to 40 feet.
Installed in hallways, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and walk-in closets, tubular daylighting devices not only help lighten interiors, but save on electric costs.
Though parts may appear similar from system to system, not all tubular skylights are created equal. Technology makes a big difference in lighting performance. You’ll want a product delivering full light spectrum of light, so you get the brightest and whitest natural light possible.
Look for a device suitable for your roof style and manufactured with built-in, leak-preventing flashing. Also, choose one offering adaptability in terms of tubing configuration and carrying a Energy Star label, guaranteeing thermal performance and efficiency.