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Efficiently Brighten Dark Spaces: The Functionality of Sun Tubes

Figuring out how to brighten up dark spaces can be a challenge when moving into a new home. This is a common issue nowadays, especially if the home isn’t facing north or is void of windows. That's where sun tubes (aka sun tunnels or solar tubes) come in.

Natural light dramatically impacts our well-being and productivity – think of how much more pleasant and calm it is sitting in a sun-drenched lounge versus a waiting room lit by unflattering fluorescents.

These highly functional, sun capturing units offer an effective way to brighten up any room with natural light, even in places where the sun has never been able to break through.

Today, we’ll explore the challenges of dark spaces and uncover why sun tubes are an excellent choice to tackle them.

before and after shots of a sun tunnel skylight installed in a hallway

The Challenge of Dark Spaces

We often tend to overlook the lighting environment around us, although it significantly affects our general well-being.

From a person’s mood and lifestyle, to levels of productivity, poorly lit spaces can lead to problems. These may include:

Reduced Comfort

A dark room evokes different feelings than a light-filled space. The lack of light makes the space feel cold and uninviting, reducing a home's ambiance quotient.

In general, people feel less comfortable in a dark space and want to spend less time there.

Higher Energy Consumption

It goes without saying that the less natural light in a home, the greater dependance on artificial lighting. This ultimately results in greater electricity consumption and increased energy bills.

Decreased Productivity

Dim lighting can cause individuals to lose their sense of motivation or experience sleepiness, resulting in reduced productivity.

Cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions, such as our sun tunnel skylights, are readily being employed by households across the country to steer away from such issues.

Sun Tubes: What Are They?

Sun tubes, also known as sun tunnels, solar tubes or sun tunnel skylights, provide an unobtrusive way to brighten your home by channelling sunlight through your roof structure.

These highly functional units comprise of three components: dome, tube, and diffuser.

how a solar tube skylight works. Solar tube bathroom skylight on the roof

The acrylic dome captures sunlight, magnifies it, then sends it down the tube into the light diffuser. The highly reflective tube works similarly to a continuous mirror, sending the sun's light down its length without diminishing its intensity.

The polished interior of the tube ensures that the performance remains efficient, even during times when the availability of sunlight is reduced, such as overcast conditions or early morning.

The sun tube diffuser then disperses the light evenly into the room. The high light transmittance of these diffusers allows more light to pass through so that even the dingiest corner of the house gets flooded with warm, natural light.

Hallways, walk-in wardrobes, entrance ways and bathrooms are common places we install our sun tube skylights, as well as the common areas like kitchens and living areas.

Benefits of Sun Tubes

Aside from illuminating and improving the atmosphere of your home, sun tubes enhance indoor aesthetics by adding an architectural flair that will impress your family and guests. Some of the main benefits of sun tubes are as follows:

Environmental Friendly

Sun tubes don't use power, meaning they don't emit harmful gases or contribute to global warming. They are an excellent way of reducing your household's carbon footprint and providing a green, ecologically sustainable solution to power your home.

Long-Term Cost Savings

Sun tunnels allow you to reduce or eliminate the need for artificial lighting during the daytime which can considerably help lower your electricity bill.

“Suntrenz were fabulous to deal with,  transforming our dark kitchen & halfway into bright spaces.  We love the natural light & it's saving us turning lights on. Highly recommend Suntrenz, from quote to install, the process was professional, on time & end result fabulous.” - Dalice Rose-McSeveney

Low Maintenance

Sun tubes are low maintenance and don't require ongoing care. Once you install a sun tube, you can rest assured knowing it's unlikely to get damaged despite continual exposure to the elements.

Made in NZ for NZ weather conditions, the exterior section of the tube is protected by modified, waterproof acrylic. This also prevents damage from the harsh sun, humidity, and insects.

To learn more about sun tubes, take a look at our handy article – 17 questions about sun tubes that you never thought to ask.

solatube vs velux skylight - which are the best skylights

Skylights and sun tubes are both reliable options for switching from artificial light to a more eco-friendly and sustainable alternative. While both systems promise the entry of natural light into your homes, each holds certain benefits over the other in various aspects.

Installation and Maintenance

The installation process of a sun tube is straightforward and quick when done by a professional skylight installer. In contrast, traditional skylights such as VELUX skylights require embedding a whole window into the roofing membrane and are therefore more labor and time-intensive.

As for maintenance, VELUX skylights are clear in nature so they do need to be cleaned more often when covered by debris or bird droppings. This compared to the small, low-maintenance structure of sun tubes. The top dome is not visible from inside and therefore you won't see any unsightly dirt or build up. 

Cost Savings

The initial cost of installing a VELUX skylight is much more than a sun tube. Our solar tubes provide similar benefits for a fraction of the price of skylights.

However, traditional skylights like VELUX skylights provide that WOW factor to a space and are a great architectural element in a home.  They also add value to a property, making them a good choice for a long-term investment.

sun tunnel skylight in the kitchen - before and after photos showing the best skylights

Performance and Versatility

There's no denying that VELUX skylights provide an impressive view of the sky and lets in ample natural light, contributing to the wonderful benefits of natural light in the home

Kitchen, living room, and bathroom skylights are reliable substitutes for light bulbs and can improve the indoor aesthetics of any home.

On the contrary, the smaller size of sun tubes makes them more applicable and versatile. They can be installed in so many more places, including the ones with minimal roof space, such as laundries and wardrobes.

Simply put, you would install a VELUX skylight in a kitchen or living room but not a hallway or walk in wardrobe; sun tubes could be installed in all of these places. 

As a bonus, sun tubes are also compatible with ventilated roof vents and work incredibly well ventilating bathrooms and kitchens.

Final Words on Sun Tubes

And there you have it - an in depth article about the functionality of solar tubes and what makes them the ideal choice for brightening up any dark, depressing corners of your home.

These innovative and undemanding systems welcome warm sunlight into dark living spaces, boost indoor aesthetics, save energy, and can be installed pretty much anywhere.

For more information and to explore our sun tunnel skylight options, have a chat with us. We can help you choose the best skylights (sun tube or VELUX skylight) for your unique space.


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