Sun tunnels capture daylight or sunlight and transmit it down through a flexible or solid tube normally made from aluminium or plastic. The reflective tube directs ambient light or sunlight into a diffuser or a double glazed opaque ceiling ring positioned within the ceiling.
Light and position
Depending on your requirements, it's important to think about the amount of light you'll be getting. This is affected by the sun tunnel length and position. In terms of position, you need to know whether the dome can be installed on a roof facing south; this will give the highest quality and amount of light and is therefore a choice worth thinking about. Nonetheless, it isn’t necessary that the crystal glass dome has to face south because the glass domes are designed to capture ambient light which can also bring a significant difference.
Light and length
Consider the length of the sun tunnel, this includes the tube length needed internally for light transfer from below your roof to the ceiling level where the diffuser is fitted in the ceiling. A longer tube means the light will be reflected a greater number of times reducing its effectiveness to reach where you want it.
Flexible or rigid sun tunnel tube?
One more thing to consider is whether a flexible or a rigid tube will work better for you. In a flexible tube, you have a good choice for shorter distances or anything up to 1.8 meters (6 feet). They are the cheaper option between the two and installation is also not complicated due to their ease of fitting.
However, once installed, the reflective material will end up creased which reduces the reflectivity inside a tunnel in contrast with their rigid pcounterparts.
On the other hand, the rigid tube is a great option for a sun tunnel as it allows to capture the most natural light possible. It's perfect for houses with a longer distance between the ceiling and the roof or if the sun tunnel is not facing south and you would like to catch as much ambient light as you can. If you're thinking about a sun tube over two metres in length you'll find rigid sun tunnels the best choice.
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So, what kind of sun tunnels should you go for?
Of course there're many sun tunnels to choose from. The top grade are crystal glass sun tunnels. They are a greater choice for the number of benefits they come with. Essentially, crystal sun tunnels are worth every penny because:
- Crystal glass dome allows you to collect 30% more light than most polycarbonate domes. They also don't yellow as time passes on and maintenance is easier due to the self-cleaning nature of the glass dome. They are also a spectacle to behold while on the roof.
- They also have a super-reflective sun tube that's more effective than your average tube. It comes with a 99.8% reflectivity while the closest competitor can only provide 98% reflectivity or 80% reflectivity for flexible tubes. They are also made using advanced electroplated techniques which use multiple layers of silver, copper and other precious metals to create a solid layer of highly reflective material compared with other tubes that use a silver foil layer.
- Another benefit of crystal glass sun tunnel is the option for a thermal break that ensures zero condensation and heat loss. Perfect for Passivhaus and the only one of its kind in the market currently.
- While most companies use plastic diffusers, the crystal glass sun tunnels accessible at Addlite are made of double glazed glass diffusers. This allows natural light to be distributed evenly throughout the room. The glass also ensures the most natural light is transmitted other than any plastic diffuser out there.?
What exact crystal sun tunnel should you go with?
Again, you have a choice to make among the best crystal sun tunnels to bring some pleasant natural light in your home.
Thermal break sun tunnel
With a flat roof sun tunnel enhanced with a thermal break, you have a highly performing sun tunnel with a guaranteed sustainability and efficient energy for your home. If you have a membrane, asphalt or flat felt roof then this U-value certified crystal sun tunnel can meet all your needs.
The Bohemian Crystal is of a high quality and enhanced with a condensation brushed nylon gasket, super reflective silver tube in lengths of 625mm, ABS plastic flashing collar and plate with double glazed patented sections that create thermal breaks preventing heat loss while eliminating condensation that meets the standards set by Passivhaus. It's finished with a glass ceiling diffuser made of sodium potassium glass.
With the flat roof thermal break sun tunnel you are guaranteed the highest quality and top level daylight or natural light with thermal bridging removed and assured air tightness. Since crystal glass domes are effectively self-cleaning zero maintenance is needed.
What about crystal glass for pitched roofs?
If you have a slate or tiled roof, the pitched roof crystal glass sun tunnel will be a wonderful choice. The superior Bohemian Crystal glass dome also comes with a glass made sodium-potassium ceiling and super-reflective 625mm silver tube and an ABS plastic collar and plate flashing plus a condensation brushed nylon gasket. With these pitched roofs sun tunnels, you don't need to do any alteration. They easily fit perfectly between rafters and joists with possible basement and horizontal applications. As mentioned, the self-cleaning benefit of crystal glass domes saves you from constant maintenance.
For flat roofs - Crystal glass sun tunnels are still the best
Flat rooms, from membrane, asphalt to felt flat rooms will benefit a lot from the top quality Bohemia Crystal glass dome. Zero alterations are needed and will fit superbly between the rafters and joists; you can apply them horizontally and on the basement.
Crystal sun tunnels can be applied in many areas
With crystal glass sun tunnels it really doesn't matter what the room or size of the home is, there is a sun tunnel size which will allow quality and sustainable natural light. The smaller sizes are perfectly suitable to use in smaller rooms, particularly in walk through areas such as closets, small entries and small corridors while the larger domes can light up areas such as kitchens and living rooms.
In fact, those living in Northern Europe will find the crystal glass tunnel the best for enhanced spatial orientation from sunlight in a sky that's partially cloudy. Whether the skies are overcast during winter their performance will always remain excellent. You’ll get the best light to your small toilet, closets and hallways while ensuring your kitchen is sufficiently lit up as required with sunlight.
They are also the best sun tunnels if you are looking for sufficient day lighting in public sectors such as schools where children read and write. In most areas of Southern Europe small crystal glass sun tunnels even fulfil the standards for day lighting needed in workplaces during colder and winter days.
Why sodium-potassium glass diffuser?
The light to be relayed through the sun tunnels has to be spread evenly in the respective room. For this to happen, the sodium-potassium glass is a critical component. Throughout the day, the sun changes position as we orbit it therefore a crystal glass sun tunnel provides a continuously shifting light spectrum allowing for the freshest of colours and a unique movement that naturally weaves itself throughout the room. In the process, natural light is scattered around the room. Most plastic diffusers are problematic since their ability to affect light colour distortion is very high; glass also looks fabulous and valuable. It's hard to think about a window made of plastic and not glass, which also applies to sun tunnels that you want to bring in as much natural light as possible.
In conclusion, if you go with crystal glass sun tunnels, whether for small or larger spaces you should expect great characteristics that bring a lot of benefits such as:
- Their wonderful appearance on your roof
- Self-cleaning and thus hardly dirty as plastic domes
- Hardly age but very durable
- Crystal glass dome allows them to gather more light than others
Note that the light quality from sun tunnels is incomparable with the brightness a standard electric bulb gives out; far much better than most energy efficient bulbs in the market not just in wattage terms but in many areas.
In essence, what you are getting with a crystal glass sun tunnel is a higher quality and warm natural light from the sun. Just like a window that's brighter than mere bulbs, you can be sure of highly illuminating complete colour spectrums in almost every situation.