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Old 08-10-14, 01:05 AM   #1
gtojohn
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Default Solar tube light

We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel. Our kitchen is in the middle of the house and without windows. The 10" velux rigid model supposedly will light up to 200sqft and I think the equivalent of 200 watts incandescent. My wife's question was, "what about at night, does it still work at night?" And then I got in trouble for thinking she was joking. I have since found they have a "night light kit" for it. Main benefit I see other than free light is its always on and I don't need to switch it on. We'll start with one over the main work area and might add another depending on her reaction. During the day this should eliminate the need for what is currently a fixture with 3x 23 watt cfls.

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Old 08-10-14, 12:53 PM   #2
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I have a solar tube in the bathroom. I rarely use the lights since putting it in. Even at night a clear sky and moon will give ample light as a night light.
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Old 08-10-14, 06:39 PM   #3
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During the daytime, these are incredibly useful - they are very bright, and it is not even strange walking into the room. It is daylight, and it feels natural.
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Old 08-11-14, 10:29 AM   #4
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I wanted to put one of these in my office during the remodel. However, I didn't have good place to put it (ceiling fan in the middle of the room). Make sure to take pics for us please!
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Old 08-11-14, 06:56 PM   #5
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I kick myself really hard for not getting these. I was going to put one in each bedroom and two in the living room/kitchen/dining room area.
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Old 08-11-14, 09:46 PM   #6
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I was hoping to find solar fiber optics for residential but apparently the technology isn't so simple. Maybe somebody will hack one.
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Old 01-14-15, 07:41 PM   #7
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They make a big difference. Well worth the extra hole in the roof and I don't like to put any extra holes in a roof..

I picked up a 14" one at depot on clearance last year. It's for the kitchen and I'm about half way through the kitchen remodel now. Have led cans over the counters and over the fridge and tall cab next to it. I have led tape light under and over the cabs and it alone is enough light for most kitchen usage.
The plan is that the skylight will provide most of the light during the day. It's a big kitchen and the window is a 36"x36" facing north with a large overhang and porch roof just to the east.

I have used them before and the one thing I recommend is to insulate the tube. Mine being 14" use 16" flex duct to insulate it.
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Old 01-18-15, 08:26 AM   #8
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How many hours of not running the CFL bulbs in the day does it take to pay for the tube? How much of that savings could you get by simply switching the CFL out for LED?
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Old 01-18-15, 04:53 PM   #9
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My guesstimate is something like 15 years at 10c/kWh, or less if you pay more for electricity. Lets say the 10" tubular skylight provides ~3000 lumens (Site says <4k max) that you would otherwise generate from 3 ~1000 lumen LED cans at 15W each for 6 hours/day.

45W*6hr/day*365day/year=~98,000Wh/year, so ~100kWh/year. 100kwh/year at 10c/kWh is $10/year, so ~15 year payback assuming DIY install. Obviously if you're never home in the day or only in the kitchen for a couple hours per day, that changes the economics a bunch. On the flip side, if you're in a high tier in CA, then it could be a payoff in less than a decade.

Edit - I forgot to include the cost of the LED cans, which would be ~$35-$55 depending on whether or not you got them on sale.

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Old 01-22-15, 08:45 AM   #10
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Another reason for the skylight is aesthetics. Our kitchen is now in the middle of our house without windows. I prefer bright work areas and natural daylight. Daylight helps keep people happy and healthy during the winter. What I've found is we get more light from it in early mornings than from windows. This is b/c of my shady lot and the dome's high location. Its a light i never have to turn on or off. Even if it were an led fixture I would have it switched off if I wasn't nearby.

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