Square Diffuser Caters to People Who Prefer Sharp-angled Shapes

The square diffusers are available in both the Solatube 160 DS (10-inch model) and Solatube 290 DS (14-inch model) and are available in OptiView or Just Frost styles.

The square diffusers are available in both the Solatube 160 DS (10-inch model) and Solatube 290 DS (14-inch model) and are available in OptiView or Just Frost styles.

Round versus square. Sharp lines versus curves. The human brain processes each of these differently, according to a Harvard Medical School study led by Moshe Bar and Maital Neta. In their study with round and square objects, they found that most people prefer rounded objects and shapes to sharp-angled ones. Over the past 25 years, Solatube International has been catering to this majority with its round diffusers. But what about those who prefer sharper lines?

Solatube introduces a square diffuser for residential Solatube Daylighting Systems.

The patented Spectralight Infinity transition box takes the round tube into the square hole at the ceiling. The square diffusers are available in both the Solatube 160 DS (10-inch model) and Solatube 290 DS (14-inch model) and are available in OptiView or Just Frost styles.

Solatube International Inc. invented TDDs, which harvest and distribute daylight in homes and commercial buildings.

Solatube International Inc. invented TDDs, which harvest and distribute daylight in homes and commercial buildings.

Solatube International Inc. invented TDDs (also known as tubular skylights), which harvest and distribute daylight in homes and commercial buildings. Solatube Daylighting Systems are installed as part of energy-saving and sustainability efforts in residential and commercial spaces in over 122 countries.

Using patented technology, a Solatube Daylighting System harvests daylight at the rooftop, transfers it down a reflective tube (which bends up to 90 degrees and can be up to 70 feet or more long) and distributes it evenly into an interior space through a diffuser at the ceiling.

SUN TUNNEL Skylights Are Improved

VELUX America has introduced the next generation residential and commercial SUN TUNNEL skylights.

VELUX America has introduced the next generation residential and commercial SUN TUNNEL skylights.

VELUX America has introduced the next generation residential and commercial SUN TUNNEL skylights to the roofing industry. Key improvements have been made to both tubular skylight product lines and a number of accessories have been added.

The new VELUX SunCurve, a highly transmissive light capturing technology for commercial SUN TUNNELS, captures more morning and evening daylight while diffusing the powerful afternoon sunlight to provide a more even and appealing light output throughout the day. Another key improvement to both the residential and commercial products is the Flexi-Loc tunnel assembly system that will enable installers to save approximately 50 percent of the time required for tunnel assembly while making quick, easy, and adjustable connections.

ThA new diffuser complements any décor with a choice of brushed nickel, polished brass, oil rubbed bronze, and white trim options. Manual blackout shades and night light kits are available for various SUN TUNNEL residential skylight models.

A new commercial SUN TUNNEL ordering system allows for configuring and ordering exactly what is needed, or for larger projects, in bulk, for cost savings from an extensive selection of new options and accessories.

Commercial ceiling options include hard, suspended and open while diffuser options include frosted for aesthetics, prismatic for a look and feel to match existing architectural design, and Fresnel to maximize light distribution.

Rooftop Alterations, Like Skylights and Roof Monitors, Can Drive Building Value and Performance

Rooftops are an immensely underutilized resource for optimizing building performance. Rooftop strategies can include painting the roof white or installing a solar reflective “cool roof” to reduce summer cooling loads; covering the roof with vegetation to improve insulation, reduce storm-water runoff and provide community spaces; and mounting solar photovoltaic or solar hot-water panels to reduce utility bills.

The multiple functions of rooftop monitors. RENDERING: FCGA Architects

The multiple functions of rooftop monitors. RENDERING: FCGA Architects

Adding daylighting and ventilation through skylights and roof monitors is a strategy with growing popularity and potential. Common sense might lead us to believe that penetrating the roof with skylights and monitors could compromise a building’s insulation and thermal performance. However, with the availability of advanced products, such as glazing, suspended film and high-performance sealants, well-designed and constructed rooftop penetrations can successfully lower energy costs and improve occupant comfort and health.

Rooftop prescriptions vary for every individual project, and a variety of factors must be considered before proceeding with construction. For example, rooftop penetrations will primarily only affect the floor directly beneath the rooftop, so single-story buildings or multistory buildings with a central atrium are ideal. When further determining which types of projects would benefit from roof penetrations, the design team must perform thorough climatic analysis, examine the existing infrastructure and occupancy conditions, and weigh all variables through cost balancing. Before diving deep into analysis, it’s important to understand different types of rooftop penetrations in this capacity and how their design and operational synergies can enhance the value and performance of a building.

Design Synergies

Traditional skylights, tubular skylights and roof monitors are the main types of rooftop daylighting/ventilation penetrations and should be considered individually because of their varying benefits. Traditional skylights offer natural daylight, which can improve the health and productivity of building occupants. Tubular skylights capture sunlight from a small, clear dome on the roof; pass the light through a highly reflective tube; and diffuse the light through a lens into the building. Because of their high efficacy and smaller penetration area, tubular skylights have better thermal performance and are more suitable for harsher climates than traditional skylights.

Roof monitors are vertical fenestrations built into raised structures atop the roof. If the monitors are operational, they contribute exponential building-performance enhancements beyond the other penetration types, including stack-effect ventilation. The figure above depicts the many functions of roof monitors: natural daylighting, ventilation, passive heating and cooling, glare reduction and structural support for rooftop solar-power systems.

As with skylights, roof monitors help disperse natural daylight more evenly and completely throughout a room than windows on the side of a building. When paired with thermal mass, such as concrete or water, vertical glazing on the roof helps capture heat from the sun to offset the building’s heating load.

Glare presents a big problem for worker productivity in buildings; careful design of roof monitors and ceiling systems can help distribute the light and reduce contrast glare. Finally, monitors can be topped with angled roofing that matches the optimal sun exposure angle for solar panels mounted atop.

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