Launch Slideshow

Solatube. The eChoice Daylighting System includes 10-inch- and 14-inch-diameter tubular skylights (models 160 DSe and 190 DSe), which offer 0.20 SHGC and 0.28 U-factor ratings that exceed Energy Star requirements. Highly polished rigid Infinity tubing extension lengths allow runs up to 30 feet including bends and angles to 90 degrees, with no degradation of performance. These systems can accommodate virtually any roof slope and covering, and interior lighting kits and electric dimmers are available. 888.765.2882. www.solatube.com.

Daylighting Products

Daylighting Products

  • Velux. A new low-profile, flat-glass roof lens is available on the companys 14-inch-diameter Sun Tunnel tubular skylight with rigid tubing (model TLR 014 2000A). According to the company, this type of skylight is less obtrusive than solar tubes with roof domes and will be more acceptable for use in communities that do not allow or restrict the placement of domed skylights. 800.888.3589. www.veluxusa.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA929%2Etmp_tcm131-723253.jpg

    true

    Velux. A new low-profile, flat-glass roof lens is available on the companys 14-inch-diameter Sun Tunnel tubular skylight with rigid tubing (model TLR 014 2000A). According to the company, this type of skylight is less obtrusive than solar tubes with roof domes and will be more acceptable for use in communities that do not allow or restrict the placement of domed skylights. 800.888.3589. www.veluxusa.com.

    600

    Velux.
    A new low-profile, flat-glass roof lens is available on the companys 14-inch-diameter Sun Tunnel tubular skylight with rigid tubing (model TLR 014 2000A). According to the company, this type of skylight is less obtrusive than solar tubes with roof domes and will be more acceptable for use in communities that do not allow or restrict the placement of domed skylights. 800.888.3589. www.veluxusa.com.

  • ODL. A Solar Powered Dimmer is now available for new or retrofit installations of the companys 10-inch tubular skylights. The dimming function requires no electrical wiring and operates on power provided by a solar panel mounted near the tubes roof inlet. Homeowners use a handheld remote unit to control the amount of sunlight entering through the tube. A non-yellowing Solar Lens Roof Dome uses optics to maximize brightness in low-light conditions. The units are Energy Star qualified. 866.635.4968. www.odl.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA927%2Etmp_tcm131-723247.jpg

    true

    ODL. A Solar Powered Dimmer is now available for new or retrofit installations of the companys 10-inch tubular skylights. The dimming function requires no electrical wiring and operates on power provided by a solar panel mounted near the tubes roof inlet. Homeowners use a handheld remote unit to control the amount of sunlight entering through the tube. A non-yellowing Solar Lens Roof Dome uses optics to maximize brightness in low-light conditions. The units are Energy Star qualified. 866.635.4968. www.odl.com.

    600

    ODL.
    A Solar Powered Dimmer is now available for new or retrofit installations of the companys 10-inch tubular skylights. The dimming function requires no electrical wiring and operates on power provided by a solar panel mounted near the tubes roof inlet. Homeowners use a handheld remote unit to control the amount of sunlight entering through the tube. A non-yellowing Solar Lens Roof Dome uses optics to maximize brightness in low-light conditions. The units are Energy Star qualified. 866.635.4968. www.odl.com.

  • \Solar Innovations. Retractable Skylights are mounted on tracks that allow them to slide completely out of the way, providing unobstructed roof openings and ventilation for living areas, indoor pools, sports courts, or any room designed to take advantage of this feature. Single units up to 6 feet by 8 feet are available, or multiple units may be ganged like skylights. Motorized or manual styles are available. Units are manufactured to meet custom requirements, and project-specific testing is available. 800.618.0669. www.solarinnovations.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA928%2Etmp_tcm131-723249.jpg

    true

    \Solar Innovations. Retractable Skylights are mounted on tracks that allow them to slide completely out of the way, providing unobstructed roof openings and ventilation for living areas, indoor pools, sports courts, or any room designed to take advantage of this feature. Single units up to 6 feet by 8 feet are available, or multiple units may be ganged like skylights. Motorized or manual styles are available. Units are manufactured to meet custom requirements, and project-specific testing is available. 800.618.0669. www.solarinnovations.com.

    600

    Solar Innovations.
    Retractable Skylights are mounted on tracks that allow them to slide completely out of the way, providing unobstructed roof openings and ventilation for living areas, indoor pools, sports courts, or any room designed to take advantage of this feature. Single units up to 6 feet by 8 feet are available, or multiple units may be ganged like skylights. Motorized or manual styles are available. Units are manufactured to meet custom requirements, and project-specific testing is available. 800.618.0669. www.solarinnovations.com.

  • Solatube. The eChoice Daylighting System includes 10-inch- and 14-inch-diameter tubular skylights (models 160 DSe and 190 DSe), which offer 0.20 SHGC and 0.28 U-factor ratings that exceed Energy Star requirements. Highly polished rigid Infinity tubing extension lengths allow runs up to 30 feet including bends and angles to 90 degrees, with no degradation of performance. These systems can accommodate virtually any roof slope and covering, and interior lighting kits and electric dimmers are available. 888.765.2882. www.solatube.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA91E%2Etmp_tcm131-723238.jpg

    true

    Solatube. The eChoice Daylighting System includes 10-inch- and 14-inch-diameter tubular skylights (models 160 DSe and 190 DSe), which offer 0.20 SHGC and 0.28 U-factor ratings that exceed Energy Star requirements. Highly polished rigid Infinity tubing extension lengths allow runs up to 30 feet including bends and angles to 90 degrees, with no degradation of performance. These systems can accommodate virtually any roof slope and covering, and interior lighting kits and electric dimmers are available. 888.765.2882. www.solatube.com.

    600

    Solatube.
    The eChoice Daylighting System includes 10-inch- and 14-inch-diameter tubular skylights (models 160 DSe and 190 DSe), which offer 0.20 SHGC and 0.28 U-factor ratings that exceed Energy Star requirements. Highly polished rigid Infinity tubing extension lengths allow runs up to 30 feet including bends and angles to 90 degrees, with no degradation of performance. These systems can accommodate virtually any roof slope and covering, and interior lighting kits and electric dimmers are available. 888.765.2882. www.solatube.com.

  • Wasco. 30-30 Triple Glazed skylights with eMax3 glazing feature inner and outer low-E glass, a clear interior pane, and argon-filled airspaces. The Energy Starrated units offer an R-value of 3.7, a U-factor of 0.27, and an SHGC of 0.22, and are available in the companys E-Class models. 800.388.0293. www.wascoskylights.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA920%2Etmp_tcm131-723240.jpg

    true

    Wasco. 30-30 Triple Glazed skylights with eMax3 glazing feature inner and outer low-E glass, a clear interior pane, and argon-filled airspaces. The Energy Starrated units offer an R-value of 3.7, a U-factor of 0.27, and an SHGC of 0.22, and are available in the companys E-Class models. 800.388.0293. www.wascoskylights.com.

    600

    Wasco.
    30-30 Triple Glazed skylights with eMax3 glazing feature inner and outer low-E glass, a clear interior pane, and argon-filled airspaces. The Energy Starrated units offer an R-value of 3.7, a U-factor of 0.27, and an SHGC of 0.22, and are available in the companys E-Class models. 800.388.0293. www.wascoskylights.com.

  • U.S. Sunlight. The Skylight Tube (model 2014ST) has a low-profile roof lens that looks like a typical skylight instead of a dome lens used by most solar tubes. The unit includes a durable outer polycarbonate lens with inner acrylic lens at the roof inlet, and a triple acrylic lens at the interior ceiling outlet. According to the firm, air gaps between each lens provide superior insulation and help the product achieve a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.20. The product is pending Energy Star. 866.446.0966. www.ussunlight.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA91F%2Etmp_tcm131-723239.jpg

    true

    U.S. Sunlight. The Skylight Tube (model 2014ST) has a low-profile roof lens that looks like a typical skylight instead of a dome lens used by most solar tubes. The unit includes a durable outer polycarbonate lens with inner acrylic lens at the roof inlet, and a triple acrylic lens at the interior ceiling outlet. According to the firm, air gaps between each lens provide superior insulation and help the product achieve a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.20. The product is pending Energy Star. 866.446.0966. www.ussunlight.com.

    600

    U.S. Sunlight.
    The Skylight Tube (model 2014ST) has a low-profile roof lens that looks like a typical skylight instead of a dome lens used by most solar tubes. The unit includes a durable outer polycarbonate lens with inner acrylic lens at the roof inlet, and a triple acrylic lens at the interior ceiling outlet. According to the firm, air gaps between each lens provide superior insulation and help the product achieve a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.20. The product is pending Energy Star. 866.446.0966. www.ussunlight.com.

  • http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/duogard_tcm131-727640.JPG

    true

    600

    Duo-Gard.
    The company now offers its translucent daylighting panels with 3S Solar Block, a transparent coating that the firm claims transmits up to 79% of visible light while blocking 99.9% of the UV rays that can cause fading and 95% of infrared heat rays. The product allows pros to bring in daylight through walls, skylights, and canopies without causing heat gain and glare. The coating can be combined with the company’s other offerings, such as Nanogel insulation, to suit each project’s needs. www.duo-gard.com.

  • http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/EDTM%201_tcm131-727641.jpg

    true

    600

    EDTM.
    The Glass-Chek Pro (model GC3000) is a digital glazing-measurement device designed for window installation, replacement, inspection, and fabricating professionals. The compact, portable unit can measure the glass and airspace thickness of single-, double-, and triple-pane windows from just one side of a window, including windows with suspended films, tinted glass, and low-E coatings. According to the manufacturer, it is an indispensable tool for identifying products in the field and to prevent costly mistakes when various types of glazed products are installed in the same location. 419.861.1030. http://www.edtm.com/.

  • http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/Feeney_tcm131-727642.jpg?width=450

    true

    450

    Feeney Architectural Products.
    Lightline canopies combine 304-grade stainless steel support arms, UV-resistant visor panes, and integrated anodized aluminum rain gutters and hardware for a modern take on the traditional overhang. Shipped as kits, the canopies come in curved, arch, or gable styles in a range of sizes; clear, tinted, or frosted panes are available. 800.888-2418. www.lightlinecanopies.com.

  • http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/MermetUSA_tcm131-727680.jpg

    true

    600

    HomeRun Holdings.
    Cordless and programmable, QMotion Shades are the first interior electronic window covering product of their kind, according to the manufacturer. Each shade operates on batteries discreetly hidden within the shade tubes, so they require no electrical wiring, and ball-bearing slides ensure smooth, silent operation. The shades can be programmed to operate individually or in groups and can be controlled remotely—even far from the home—via a wireless remote control unit. 877.849.6090. www.qmotionshades.com.

  • http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/Pleotint_tcm131-727639.jpg?width=320

    true

    320

    Picasa 3.0

    Pleotint.
    Using sunlight-responsive thermochromic technology, Pleotint glass darkens in direct sunlight, reducing heat and glare while maintaining the view; because the sun does the work, no wiring is required. The film is the same base material used in laminated safety glass, so it also prevents broken glass from shattering if impacted, the maker says. http://www.pleotint.com/.

Homeowners love to let the sun shine in.

But builders and architects know that flooding rooms with natural light—through windows, skylights, solar tubes, light wells, clerestories, and other building-envelope penetrations—can create problems, especially in northern and southern regions where heat loss or heat gain often accompany any increase in glazing. Bringing natural light deep into a home’s interior, whether for new construction or renovation, also can require difficult and costly building efforts but can reap huge rewards in efficiency and comfort if implemented effectively.

Benefits of Natural Light

Natural light is not only desirable to most occupants, it may be essential to their lifestyle and even well-being. In Christopher Alexander’s groundbreaking A Pattern Language, the architectural faculty at the Center for Environmental Studies (University of California, Berkeley) observed that occupants of buildings typically gravitate to rooms that have natural light on two sides. According to the authors, “This pattern, perhaps more than any other, determines the success or failure of a room. The arrangement of daylight in a room … is fundamental.”

  • An interior courtyard offers more opportunities to bring natural light into this Anne Fougeron Architecture home in San Francisco.
    An interior courtyard offers more opportunities to bring natural light into this Anne Fougeron Architecture home in San Francisco.
An abundance of natural light throughout the day also can help offset a home’s energy loss or energy load by reducing use of artificial lighting. And passive solar design, which relies on careful site orientation, shading, and window placement, often includes daylighting strategies to reduce energy use.

Striking a balance between natural and artificial lighting in residential design is often “a combination of art and science,” says Carson Looney, a principal in Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, headquartered in Memphis. “Daylighting is about creating that wonderful environment,” he says. “People say they want more windows, but what they really need is wonderfully balanced lighting.”

Most people spend more time at work than in their homes during daylight hours, Looney says, so he recommends that his clients “don’t try too hard or spend too much on natural lighting for economic reasons. I tell them to do it for their aesthetic comfort and enjoyment. It’s more about the quality of light than the quantity of light.”

Anne Fougeron, who heads her own architectural firm in San Francisco, says she tries to make the most of natural light “whenever and wherever possible” in residential and commercial projects. Understanding how sunlight and shadow will impact the structure when the building is sited on the lot is a critical step in her design process, she adds.

“First, you need to know where the light is coming from—you don’t just assume it comes from somewhere,” she says. “A big mistake people make is not being careful about how the glazing is going to interact with the light, how the glazing ‘operates’ year-round. You have to ask: Will it be too public, or too hot in summer?”