National Daylight Appreciation Day Celebrates Benefits of Sunlight on Longest Day of the Year: June 21

Everyone deserves the extra daylight that June 21 brings, including those who are stuck indoors, especially at work.

In celebration of the longest day of the year, Solatube International, the worldwide leading manufacturer and marketer of Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs), created National Daylight Appreciation Day (June 21 each year) as a way to increase awareness about the benefits of incorporating daylight into all aspects of our lives.

Since daylight is free and energy efficient (no electric lights needed), there is a movement afoot to incorporate it everywhere from homes and offices to schools, warehouses and convention centers.

In honor of National Daylight Appreciation Day, here are some of the reasons to appreciate daylight, especially in work environments:

  • According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology News, more than a third of the energy used in the United States is consumed in buildings, and 25 to 40% of that is used to run electric lights. In many cases, daylight could be used instead. “Depending on the building and how it’s used, a good daylighting strategy can reduce the need for energy-consuming electric lighting by 20 to 80%,” said Professor Marilyne Andersen of the Department of Architecture.
  • In a study from the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, three school systems in Washington, Colorado and California found that students in rooms with the most diffuse and glare-free daylight improved their performance on standardized tests by up to 26%.
  • The Non-Profit Center for Energy & Climate Solutions’ Cool Companies reports that VeriFone, a subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard in Costa Mesa, Calif., upgraded its 76,000-square-foot building to include a series of roof skylights and other energy-efficient features. On sunny days, workers used only natural daylight and small task lights. Workers no longer complained about end-of-the-day headaches or end-of-the-week sluggishness. As a result, absenteeism dropped 40 to 45%, employee productivity increased 5% and energy bills were slashed 50%, for a payback time of less than one year.
  • For the health and happiness of nurses – and for the best care of hospital patients – new Cornell research suggests exposure to natural light may be the best medicine. In a forthcoming Cornell study published in the journal of Health Environments Research and Design, Rana Zadeh, assistant professor of design and environmental analysis, discovered nurses who had access to natural light enjoyed significantly lower blood pressure, communicated more often with their colleagues, laughed more and served their patients in better moods than nurses who settled for large doses of artificial light.

Daylighting is the most cost-effective and beneficial way to light up any interior space while keeping the lights turned off during the day.

Improving education in the Year of Light

Light plays a role in every aspect of our lives. We rely on it to brighten our homes and businesses.

We use light-based technologies in our smart phones, tablets, laptops, and DVD players. You’ll even find them in use at the grocery store, the airport and the doctor’s office.

No doubt about it, light is a vital part of our world.

Perhaps that’s why the United Nations has proclaimed 2015 the International Year of Light. Over the next 12 months, lighting experts, technology leaders and the brightest scientific minds will convene to explore and discuss ways that light-based technologies can be used to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems—problems like energy consumption, agriculture, health and education.

For our contribution, Solatube International, Inc. will continue to work on improving education by growing our established educational daylighting program. Through this initiative, we provide free Solatube Daylighting Systems to qualifying U.S. schools and universities. The units deliver natural light that helps students concentrate, perform better on tests, and work more productively. They also cut electricity costs, allowing more money to be put into the classroom and less into utilities.

Our most recent efforts benefited Newington High School in Newington, Conn., a facility that hadn’t been updated for 40 years. The school’s media center was the main focus of the project. Surrounded by corridors and classrooms, this section of the building had no access to natural light.

The space was brightened using several Solatube Daylighting Systems, installed by the Solatube Commercial Distributor for New England, Willco Sales & Service.

 “I was impressed with the difference natural daylight brought  to the room,” said Architect Kevin Lipe of Jacunski Humes  Architects. “Before the project, turning off the room lights left  most of the space in darkness and brought to a stop whatever  activities were underway. Now, turning off the lights causes an  almost imperceptible change to light levels and activities  continue on uninterrupted. Solatube Daylighting Systems  greatly enhance the quality of ambient light throughout the  space without shadows, glare or direct sun.”

Thanks to the new units, students now have access to better,  brighter lighting. The school can also reduce its energy use since traditional electric lights can be left off during the day.

As the International Year of Light continues, we’ll continue to do our part to solve the world’s problems as they relate to education and energy consumption. In fact, plans are already in the works to install units in additional educational facilities domestically. We’re even looking to expand our program outside the U.S. to ensure children in schools all over the world have the lighting they need to study and learn.

Solving the world’s problems won’t happen overnight. But with awareness building initiatives like the International Year of Light and educational improvement programs like the one we’ve put into place, we’ll continue to chip away at it. One school at a time.

5 Reasons to Switch to Daylighting

You already have perfectly good electric lights in your home. But are they really as perfect as you think? Here are 5 reasons to consider converting your electric lighting to daylighting using a tubular daylighting system.

Reason #1: Daylighting Saves You Money 

Each time you flip on your electric lights, you pay a fee to your energy company to power them. The more you use your lights, the more you pay.

A tubular daylighting system uses solar energy to light your home’s interior. That means you’ll pay nothing to light your home during the daytime because you’re not using any electricity.

But what happens when the sun goes down? While tubular daylighting systems can’t provide natural light at night, many manufacturers offer optional electric light kits that can be installed inside the daylighting system to light your home in the evening.

A hybrid system is an even better option. These unique models combine daylighting with LED lighting so you can illuminate your home day and night while saving up to 94% on your lighting energy bills.

Reason #2: Daylighting Renders Colors Better 

Have you ever dressed in a black shirt only to find out it’s actually navy when viewed in sunlight? This occurs because electric lighting in homes can range in hue from bluish to yellowish, which shifts the perceived color of fabrics when viewed under them.

Natural light, on the other hand, provides the truest color rendition of all light sources. With daylighting as your main light source, mix-ups are not a problem because colors are rendered in their natural state without shifts.

Reason #3: Daylighting Reduces Maintenance

Keeping your lights operational takes a certain amount of regular maintenance. When a bulb goes out, for instance, you’ve got to replace it. That means you’ll have to make a trip to the store to buy bulbs. Then you may have to climb onto a wobbly chair or ladder to swap the burned out bulb for the new one. After that, you’ll need to properly dispose of the old bulb in the trash or, if it’s a compact fluorescent bulb, at a hazardous waste facility. Then consider that, at some point, all your electric lights will require a bulb change. That’s a lot of work!

With a tubular daylighting system, there are no bulbs to change. Even with the hybrid systems, light bulb replacement is practically non-existent because the integrated LEDs can last up to 20 years.

You also won’t need to worry about repairing frayed cords, damaged plugs or malfunctioning outlets because tubular daylighting systems don’t use them. This also makes them extremely safe to use.

Reason #4: Daylighting Is Convenient 

How many times do you turn on your electric lights each day? Have you ever found yourself struggling to flip the light switch with an elbow or shoulder when your hands are full of groceries or laundry? Do you find yourself constantly reminding others in your household to turn off the lights when they’re not in the room?

When you use a tubular daylighting device, you’ll never have to flip a switch again. The system delivers daylight consistently throughout the day, so you’ll have the light you need without having to lift a finger. Plus, you won’t have to nag anyone to turn off the lights because there is no electricity being used that will go to waste.

Even the hybrid systems help in this area because some models are able to trigger the LEDs automatically when light levels get low. Occupancy sensors can also be added so the LEDs trigger only when someone enters a space with low light levels.

Reason #5: Daylighting Makes You Happy

One of the best reasons to daylight your home is because it offers many personal benefits. For example, it can improve your mood, reduce eye strain, make you more productive, boost your concentration, and help you sleep better at night.

Environments with unvaried lighting (i.e., electric lighting) can produce low-level sensory deprivation, which results in boredom, fatigue, lack of concentration, lowered mental capacity, and even depression. The variable lighting offered by daylighting provides mental stimulation by clueing you into what’s happening outside as weather changes and clouds shift through the sky.

Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solatube Smart LED Systems offer all these benefits and more. To find out how to get one in your home, visit our Where to Buy page to locate your local Solatube Premier Dealer.

5 Reasons Your Man Cave Needs Daylight

Your man cave is your sanctuary. And whether it’s in a den, basement, garage, spare bedroom or fully customized deluxe space, it’s your personal refuge away from annoying bosses, family interruptions, and basically any form of adult responsibility.

It’s also likely the one place in your home where you get to choose the furniture and furnishings without your spouse’s influence. Hello pool tables, giant bean bags, overstuffed recliners and beer can sculptures! But just because it’s called a man cave doesn’t mean it has to be dark and dreary.

Here are 5 reasons natural light from a Solatube Daylighting System can make your mantuary more than just a room for manly solitude.

Watch TV in comfort

Three words: Big. Screen. TV. It’s the nucleus of many man caves, and no wonder. What could be better than cheering on your favorite sports team on the big screen while relaxing in your recliner with chips and frosty beverages at your fingertips? Nothing we can think of. Except maybe natural daylight from a Solatube Daylighting System. This unique device captures the sun’s energy and brings it inside, creating a bright interior that costs nothing to light. It’s even designed to prevent glare, hot spots and heat buildup, so you can watch all afternoon in cozy comfort. Plus, with the money you’ll save, you can afford to get that all-inclusive cable sports package you’ve been wanting, so you won’t have to miss a single game.

Daylight helps you concentrate so you hit the bull's eye. Get a competitive edge

Guys are competitive, so it’s no surprise that many mantuaries serve as an arena for manly games like poker, billiards, foosball, air hockey and darts. What you might not know is that sunlight delivers specific benefits that can give you a competitive edge. By piping daylight into your gaming area, you get better concentration for anticipating your buddy’s next move, increased energy for enduring marathon matches, and improved visibility for more accurate shots. After all, you want your dart to end up in the bull’s eye, not your buddy’s behind. Right?

Showcase your sports stuff

Your man space is the perfect place to display your beloved sports memorabilia—from your baseball card collection to that football signed by your favorite quarterback to the trophies from your high school glory days. But a dim room makes it nearly impossible to show off these prized possessions with all the distinction they deserve. Placing a Solatube Daylighting System directly overhead lets you use a wall wash effect to show off your manly mementos in all their regal splendor.

Improve your hobby time

Men need hobbies, and there’s no better place to indulge in them than a man cave. For this type of activity, bright daylight is a necessity—especially if your hobby involves small parts or sharp tools like you’d encounter with model making, RC car building, or woodworking. Solatube Daylighting Systems use a specially designed diffuser to spread daylight evenly throughout your mantuary so you can see clearly and work safely. Plus, they come in different styles, so you can choose the fixture that blends best with your space, whether it’s rustic, traditional, sporty or contemporary.

Natural light reduces eye strain for easier reading.

Reduce your eye strain

The man cave is also a great location for reading magazines like Sports Illustrated, Men’s Fitness, and GQ, or watching the day’s most outrageous videos on deadspin.com. If you’re a fantasy football fan, you might prefer to spend your time scanning blogs about who the hot players are and who to bench any given week. Whatever your interest, daylight makes it easier to see those tiny letters on the page or screen. Face it. Your eyes aren’t what they used to be, so take it easy on them. Reduce your eye strain with bright daylight.

So there you have it: 5 ways daylight can improve your man space.

But what about those times when you actually want it dim? Like when you’re spending the afternoon watching an action movie or taking a well-deserved nap after finishing your honey-do list. No worries. An optional Solatube Daylight Dimmer lets you adjust the room light levels from 2% – 100% so you can make it as dark or as light as you want.

For the male gender, the man cave just might be the most important room in the house. So make the most of it with bright daylight from a Solatube Daylighting System. To find out where to get one, visit ourWhere to Buy page.

Images courtesy of nuttakit (sofa), 

Daylight: A Smart Investment in Your Child’s Education

It’s back to school time. As you scramble to buy your kids new clothes, backpacks and pencils, here’s one more purchase you may want to consider: a tubular daylighting device (TDD).

A TDD captures natural light from the sun and delivers it indoors where it can brighten the room where your student studies and does homework. Since it uses solar energy, it also costs nothing to operate. That means you can use the money you save for more important things, like your child’s college fund.

Aside from providing bright, no-cost lighting, daylight offers other benefits. It improves mood, enhances concentration, heightens energy levels, and increases productivity. In fact, numerous studies have been conducted that prove education and daylighting make a smart team. Here are a few of them:

Daylight boosts academic performance

A study of 21,000 students in three states found that students in classrooms with ample daylight progressed 20% faster on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests in one year than students with limited or no daylight. (Heschong Mahone Group “Daylighting in Schools” Report, 1999)

In a study of schools built in Johnston County, N.C., students  in daylit classrooms outperformed students in artificially lit classrooms by 5% to 14%.(Environmental Design & Construction, January/February 1998; U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs Report, “Energy-Smart Building Choices: How School Administrators & Board Members Are Improving Learning and Saving Money,” 2002)

Daylight reduces absenteeism

When daylighting was added to a group of North Carolina schools, student attendance improved to 98%, roughly 3% higher than the rest of the country. (School Planning and Management, January 2002)

After daylight was added to a Pittsburgh-area elementary school, attendance rose from 93.5% to 95%, earning the school an additional $4000 from the state that year. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 15, 2000)

Daylight improves behavior

A study entitled “Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?” by the National Clearinghouse for Education reported that appropriate lighting reduced poor behavior and improved test scores. (School Planning and Management, February 2005) 

Studies in Canada and Sweden found that student behavior and health improved with daylit classrooms, which also resulted in fewer days absent. The Canadian study also reported that the use of daylighting made it possible to downsize heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, which reduced classroom noise and resulted in a more effective learning environment. (School Planning and Management, February 2005)

Providing your student with access to daylight is one of the best investments you can make in his or her education. If you want to give your child all the advantages that daylight offers, click here to learn more about daylighting and Solatube Daylighting Systems.

Happy National Daylight Appreciation Day!

Today is not only the first day of summer or the longest day of the year, but it is National Daylight Appreciation Day as well! National Daylight Appreciation Day was created by Solatube International, Inc. as a way to increase awareness about the benefits of incorporating daylight into all aspects of our lives.

See all the health benefits of the sun:

 

Just One More Month Until…

Do Your Rooms Need Daylight?

Do you have rooms that are in shadow for all or part of the day? Do you sometimes hold your clothes up to a window to make sure the colors match? Are you forced to turn on your electric lights during the daytime to see clearly?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to overcome these common home lighting issues if you upgrade your current electric lighting to natural lighting from a Solatube Daylighting System.

To find out which of your rooms may benefit the most from daylight, click to access our interactive daylighting worksheet. During daylight hours, take it with you as you walk through your rooms with the electric lights turned off. Rank each room’s natural light level on the worksheet, then read the key below to see whether or not a Solatube Daylighting System can help brighten your home.


Key for Daylighting Worksheet

Dark Rooms

If you categorized any of your rooms as “dark,” you probably rely heavily on electric lights to see during the day. This wastes electricity and may be driving up your energy bills. A Solatube Daylighting System is designed to pipe in loads of natural light so you get a brighter, more beautiful room…without the need for electricity.

Heavily Shadowed Rooms

Some of your rooms may receive daylight from a small window, but are still heavily shadowed—even during the brightest part of the day. If you’re using your electric lights to brighten these rooms, you’re spending your hard-earned money to power those lights. With a Solatube Daylighting System, you can keep that money in your wallet by lighting your rooms for free with endless, abundant, sustainable sunlight.

Lightly Shadowed Rooms

Lightly shadowed rooms tend to have a mix of light and dim areas. As a result, you may find yourself occasionally flipping on your electric lights to brighten these rooms during the day. A Solatube Daylighting System can even out shadows and enhance the beauty of your rooms while making it easier to see clearly and reducing your electricity use.

Moderately Lit Rooms

Although moderately lit rooms typically receive adequate natural light from one or more windows or traditional skylights, the sunlight streaming through them may result in hot spots, glare, and shifting light patterns throughout the day. A Solatube Daylighting System eliminates these issues by spreading daylight evenly throughout the room and preventing heat from entering your interior.

Brightly Lit RoomsNatural light from Solatube Daylighting Systems brighten rooms without electricity.

With some residential floor plans, the builders took care to effectively integrate daylight into the interior through the use of precisely placed windows and traditional skylights. If this describes your rooms, you don’t need a Solatube Daylighting System. You already have a naturally bright and beautiful home!

To see examples of Solatube Daylighting Systems in actual homes, visit our Residential Showcase.

If you’d like to find out where to buy a Solatube Daylighting System, visit our Where to Buy page.

5 Reasons to Daylight Your Aquarium

Daylight is beneficial for living organisms, and that includes marine life. Fish, coral, and other aquatic creatures and plant life found in outdoor water environments thrive under the full spectrum of natural light the sun provides. But what about their indoor brethren who spend their lives under the glare and heat of electric light?

Those whose owners take care to use appropriate artificial lighting and cooling equipment can actually fare quite well. Even so, a naturally-lit tank environment may be a better option for both inhabitants and enthusiasts.

While windows and skylights may be the obvious choices for natural lighting, they are not necessarily the best. In fact, in both cases the light tends to shift as the sun travels across the sky, making it hard to control its position, duration and intensity. A Solatube® Daylighting System, on the other hand, is ideal for this type of lighting scenario.

Also known as a tubular daylighting device, solar tube, light pipe, or tubular skylight, a Solatube Daylighting System uses an advanced optical dome to capture the sun’s rays at the roof level of your home. It then transports the light into your interior using highly reflective tubing that can maneuver around obstacles in your attic without structural modifications. This makes it possible to position the light directly above your aquarium, even if it’s on a lower floor. A specially designed diffuser then disperses the light evenly throughout the space below.

Along with precise positioning, here are five more reasons to consider a Solatube Daylighting System for your aquarium.

Reason #1: Light color

For your tank inhabitants to flourish, they need access to the same spectrum and intensity of light that their species is accustomed to outdoors. For example, many corals rely on blue light to survive while aquatic plants need both blue and red light for optimal growth.

While electric lights are available in most colors and can be used to successfully sustain aquarium life, the result may not be pleasing to the eye. That’s why electrically-lit saltwater reef aquariums, for instance, are often outfitted with blue light for sustainability of aquarium life and additional white light for improved color rendition. Natural light from a Solatube Daylighting System not only allows you to meet the needs of all your aquarium dwellers but also achieve the aesthetics you want.

Reason #2: Light output

Light duration and intensity are other factors to consider when it comes to aquatic life. Tropical fish, for example, prefer about 12 hours of strong light each day. Invertebrates, on the other hand, prefer darker, less intensely lit environments. An optional Solatube Daylight Dimmer allows you to adjust light levels from 0% to 100% so you can customize light output to benefit your particular tank species. It also helps control algae growth by limiting the amount of daylight delivered to your tank.

Reason #3: Heat control

Controlling water temperature is another crucial factor for tank life. Solatube Daylighting Systems feature Spectralight® Infinity Tubing, which rejects heat-carrying infrared rays that can warm your aquarium environment. With these rays blocked, the use of cooling fans and water chillers is minimized…as is your energy bill.

Reason #4: Nighttime viewing

For nighttime aquarium viewing, electric lighting can be integrated into a Solatube Daylighting System. Or you can opt for the Solatube Smart LED™ System, which delivers natural light during the day and LED light at night. The advantage of LEDs is that they require very little electricity. This keeps energy costs down and minimizes heat transfer to your tank.

Reason #5: Reduced maintenance

A Solatube Daylighting System can also reduce maintenance. By delivering the full spectrum of natural light, you can cut back on colored bulb purchases and replacement. Since infrared rays are blocked, you may not need to use cooling fans or water chillers as often. If you opt for the Daylight Dimmer, you may also be able to minimize algae blooms and cleanup.

Natural light from a Solatube Daylighting System brings out the colors of your aquarium fish. With a Solatube Daylighting System or Smart LED System, illuminating your aquarium with natural light is both practical and possible. It allows your fish and plants to thrive and their colors to appear more vibrant. When you add a Solatube OptiView® Decorative Fixture to your setup, you can even add a natural sparkle effect similar to that produced when daylight reflects off oceans and lakes. You’ll be able to control heat and light output to suit the needs of various aquatic species while reducing maintenance requirements. Plus, you’ll save money by reducing electricity typically used for electric lights, cooling fans and water chillers.

All of this adds up to increased enjoyment of your aquarium, which is the whole point of having one. So don’t settle for electric lighting when you can get the beauty and benefits of daylight, and view your aquarium the way it was meant to be seen—naturally.

Daylight Appreciation Event

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