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Solatube Daylighting Systems vs Traditional Roof Windows

Solatube Daylighting Systems vs Roof Windows 

While traditional roof windows have their place – the primary benefits being that you can open them (and sometimes see out of them!) – there are many advantages to using a Solatube Tubular Daylighting System; it is simply a question of using the right product to do the best job. 
If a view is not to be gained, then a tubular daylighting system is a very strong contender as it has many advantages over traditional roof windows. In particular, where you have a conventional horizontal ceiling with roof space above, you will find that traditional roof windows are considerably more expensive and less effective and efficient in lighting the room below. Tubular daylighting systems, however, are designed specifically for situations such as these; they can deliver significant amounts of daylight for their size, yet require no structural modifications or making good. 

Thermal Insulation 

The thermal efficiency of a traditional roof window is poor compared to that of a tubular daylighting system; in winter, heat will escape through the large aperture in your ceiling, whereas in summer you are likely to suffer from solar gain (heat build-up).  
Solatube Daylighting Systems have excellent insulation properties with u-values of just 1.3 W/m²K – better than some double-glazed windows.* Furthermore, they are double-glazed at ceiling level (not roof level) to prevent your expensive heated (or cooled) air escaping from the room below into the roof void. 
Also, rain falling onto traditional roof windows can be surprisingly noisy, something that doesn't happen with tubular daylighting systems. And If security is a consideration, then our daylighting systems are a far safer bet than a traditional roof window as our Polycarbonate dome material is considerably stronger than glass - and many times stronger than acrylic! 
* Our award-winning Energy Care Optima™ add-on enhancement is available to provide even greater thermal efficiency for your Solatube Daylighting System, with u-values as low as 0.5 W/m²K – that’s passive house standard! 
Diagram showing the difference in heat loss between a Solatube Daylighting System and skylight

Light Delivery 

Solatube Daylighting Systems deliver significant amounts of light for their size, delivering the same (often more) daylight as traditional roof windows, but through a far smaller aperture. They are also efficient on all roof aspects, whereas traditional roof windows are efficient only on south-facing aspects. Fresnel lenses in the roof dome also means the system makes the most of low level sun – during winter and early morning/evening. 
Another consideration is that traditional roof windows with their light wells create a shaft of light, whereas the daylight from a tubular daylighting system is evenly spread throughout the room thanks to the ceiling diffuser. 
Diagram showing the difference between Solatube roof domes and light well


While roof windows are typically a stand-alone feature, our daylighting systems come with a wide range of fully integrated accessories – including a bathroom ventilation kit and electric lighting, giving you the option of a neat, multi-functional unit in one system.  
Diagram showing the difference between Solatube roof domes and light well


Condensation is likely to be an issue with traditional roof lights, whereas our tubular daylighting systems are designed to dissipate any condensation that may form out on to the roof. Light wells are also a haven for cobwebs, flies and spiders and will require frequent cleaning. Tubular daylighting systems, on the other hand, require no cleaning or maintenance.  
Transforming your home with daylight 
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