The world is going towards using more natural resources in their daily lives. Suddenly the word “natural” means a lot more than “50% discount” or “prices slashed.” People are ready to pay double if they are ensured that it is organic and natural.
Last month, a friend of mine was going on about these Solatube and Velux solar tubes she had to have. I had no idea what she is talking about. She even asked me which one I would go for if I was in her place, and I took a wild guess because I did not want to sound like an idiot in front of her.
Later, I started researching these “Tubes” she was talking about, and I do not know why I have not been using them, because they are the answers to all my electricity bills and global warming issues!
What Are Solar Tubes?
Solar tubes are renewable, give out clean energy without damaging your house or charging hectic electric fees, and burning a hole in your wallet. They are cylindrical and made of reflective material.
They function by capturing sunlight and make it bounce on the interior surface of the tube. While bouncing, it reaches your house, the light finally emitting through an acrylic dome hanging on the ceiling.
The plus point of using solar tubes is that you and your home are safe from all UV rays thanks to the sunlight’s bouncing nature, and as the light is evenly spread, there are no hot spots from the sunlight. A solar tube promises a bright lit house throughout the day, no matter the shining sun’s position.
The smallest solar tube of about 10 inches generates light, usually generated by 3,100-watt light bulbs enough to light up an area of 200 sq. ft. A 14-inch solar tube has the potential to illuminate a 300 sq. ft area.
Solar tubes can be installed anywhere you wish to install them. The most popular installation spots are Kitchen, Hallways, Bathrooms, Laundry Rooms, Living Room, and Walk-in Closets.
Another plus point for solar tubes is that you do not have to make any alterations in your house for its installation. It is simple to install solar tubes, especially if you have a vaulted ceiling (they require just 12 inches of tubing)
Drawbacks of Solar Tube Lighting
No product is 100% perfect, and solar tubes are not. They have some drawbacks every consumer should be aware of.
Costly Than Your Regular Source of Light
Solar Tubes are expensive products. The manufacturing cost, the science and technology behind the functioning, the installation cost (however easy the procedure may be) is very costly.
Need for Sunlight to Function
Also, as the sole source of energy to make them work is the sun’s rays, it is imperative that the tubes face the sunlight, or else they will not be able to provide their customers with the best of performance.
Requires A Lot of Space
It will be far more convenient and simpler to use if you have some extra space installing the light tube.
Extended Usage Without Servicing Causes Pollution
These solar tubes have built-in, rechargeable, changeable batteries, which start polluting the environment if not changed and serviced after a lot of use.
Solatube is a renowned brand for your solar tube needs and has expanded over the years and worked on its technology now and again to keep up with its customers’ demands and desires.
Recently they have started offering their customers a more efficient and easy way of lighting their homes with their sun tunnels (or solar tubes). Each product of Solatube promises its highest light retention potential to its buyer.
And even though they do not offer a massive range to the customers, it is just about enough for everyone to choose from. They have launched three series, all with different features to fit all needs.
Brighten up Series:
Perfect for small households, corridors, restrooms. Solatube provides you different sizes of solar lights as per your requirements. This series offers different devices to fit different applications and space sizes. This series has two variants – 160 DS: 10″ wide tube and 290 DS: 14″ wide tube, with lengths up to 30.’
It also offers two different domes for the devices as per your need and usage, maximizing the technology and capturing light even in places where light is not in abundance. Adding to that, Solatube promises a leak-proof mount on any roof-type, a beautiful design, and perfect add-ons to complete the perfect package.
A perfect fit for classrooms, offices, retail shops, hallways, etc. The brand offers multiple variants in this series as well. Depending on the size and kind of ceiling (open/closed), Solatube offers five variants. The tubing system is known for its oh-so-reflective surface, providing the length and angles (90º bends)
Carries the potential to light a sports stadium, gymnasiums, or amphitheater. This series offers various domes and collectors suitable best to capture light with its tube extensions to transfer it and a detachable Amplifier to deliver it into the building.
The SkyVault series is known for its flexibility and promise of heavy output for any ample space. Solatube backs up their products with a 10 Year Warranty, and the products are built with reflective material that is 99.7% effective.
Velux Solar Lighting
Velux always had a more comprehensive product catalog than that of Solatube. The brand focuses mainly on solar tubes while selling shutters, windows, and skylights on the side. You have many products to choose from, with a range of sizes according to your requirements.
Customers have two varieties to choose from – flexible or rigid. Both the variants are made from advanced plastics and reinforced paned glass for light to enter.
The customers are advised to go for a Flexible Solar tube when the installation is supposed to take place around obstacles within a loft space. They are easier to install because of their flexibility and easy to maneuver material.
- Commendable ease and speed of installation.
- High flexibility around chaotic areas of your home.
- It helps in diffusing sunlight in short runs.
- Best for short tunnel runs.
They are advised to opt for Rigid Sun Tunnels if they have a straight, unobstructed path from the roof to the ceiling. However, they are still made a little flexible for slight maneuvering.
- Flexi Loc™ tunnel systems are used for easy and speedy assembly of the solar tube.
- Supply of brighter, white light.
- Best for long runs.
Solatube vs. Velux
The Velux solar tubes work somewhat in the same way as the Solatube solar tubes, but
there are subtle yet noticeable differences in the designs. While Solatube uses a dome to collect the heat, Velux uses a flat glass plate.
The problem with a flat plate is that it tends to attract more dirt and grime, while the same is not possible with the Solatube dome because dirt can easily slide off it.
Velux has yet to develop their product well enough to collect a significant amount of sunlight in a day.
Too much sunlight tends to make the rooms too bright, but Solatube solar tubes have an additional feature of regulating the supply of light, while Velux is minus this feature.
However, in the quality of materials used, Velux supersedes Solatube in every way. The construction quality and the too high standard of innovation and creativity Velux has set challenging to surpass. They do have great quality products that satisfy their customers and keep them coming back for more.
Like I mentioned earlier, Solatube gives a 99.7% reflective material to its solar tubes, whereas Velux has still reached 98%, which is good, but not good enough. The overall lumen output is a bit lower than the Solatube light as well.
The reason behind the 99.7% guaranteed reflective tubing in the Solatube sun tunnels is because of its Spectra light tubing design.
This leads to less light and more light absorbed on the way down the tube, giving a bright result satisfying you and your family to the fullest!
Although both brands are well-performing and have some impressive products wooing their customers throughout, there are reasons why Velux lags behind Solatube in performance.
Its lack of focus on one variant and its failure to give more time and research to one product is one reason for its lagging.
Solatube is so much more focused on one item. Maybe that is why it still performs better than Velux.
Both Solatube and Velux follow the same manufacturing procedures, but still, Solatube has managed to develop and grow their product to work better for the customer. According to the customer surveys, its flexibility with the changes and its quick adaptations has made it far more useful compared to the competition.
If you want, you can go for Velux, but Solatube is still your winner.