Skylights v/s Solar tubes : Which daylighting solution is the best for you?

Skylights v/s Solar tubes

Skylights v/s Solar tubes

Natural light is one of the best ways to light up the interiors of a building. Using natural light not only reduces energy costs, but is also a sustainable way of lighting the building, reducing the carbon footprint.

Interior natural lighting for buildings has traditionally been done using windows, blinds, rooftop openings and other fenestrations. Using these devices with the right placement gives access to the ambient sunlight for the interiors of a building. But it also has its disadvantages.

In this article, we take a look at the Traditional skylights and the alternative to the traditional skylights, the Solar Tubes which are a boon where natural sunlight is not directly accessible.(ex: underground attic and so on)

Traditional Skylights V/s Solar Tubes

Traditional Skylights are special openings on the ceilings of buildings with transparent or translucent material to let the required amount of natural light in.


Solar Tubes consist of mirror tubes to pipe in natural light from rooftops into the interiors of a building.

Solar tubes

The Solar tube mainly consists of 3 components – :

  • Light Dome
  • Light Pipe
  • Diffuser

The Light Dome captures the sunlight that is made to pass through the Light pipe, attached to the light dome. Light travels through the reflective surface of the light pipe and emerges through a Diffuser at the outlet of the light pipe. 

For detailed reading:

Solar tube or Solar piping system

Traditional Skylights Advantages

  • Traditional skylights let more natural sunlight to be captured by the interiors of a building.
  • It helps you save on electricity bills by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
  • It gives people inside a direct view of the sky.
  • It helps promote good physical and mental wellbeing with the aid of natural lighting.

Traditional Skylights Disadvantages

  • Too much heat gain – These kind of systems are a weak spot for heat insulation. They emit a lot of heat during summer and hence cause significant heat accumulation inside a building. During winter times the exact opposite can happen when the room can get very cold.
  • Too much light emitted – Too much-unfiltered light can enter into a building depending on the size of the skylight and its positioning. This can happen when the sun rays fall directly onto the skylights emitting a lot of light which can even damage the interiors of a building.
  • Exposure to UV rays due to the emission of unfiltered light into the buildings.
  • These systems can bring in water leaks if not installed properly.

Solar Tube Advantages

  • Enables natural light to be captured even when there is no feasibility for accessing the roof light directly as in the case of skylights.
  • Energy efficient – Enables optimal light distribution with no glare and minimizes the heat accumulation in the buildings.
  • Eliminates the exposure to UV rays.
  • Solar Tube is cheaper compared to Skylights 
    • Installation is much easier compared to Skylights.
  • Leak proof and requires zero maintenance

Solar tube Disadvantages

  • Can’t directly view the sky from the interior as in the case of skylights.
  • Not easily operable like skylights.

Carefully consider the pros and cons of each of the systems before purchasing and installing the system. We provide customized Daylight harvesting solutions to fit your needs perfectly. Contact us for any queries related to these products.

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