My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the Netzeroguide to help regular home owner’s like me make
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The idea was originally developed by the ancient Egyptians, but it wasn't until the
1850s that the French company Chappuis Ltd. patented the idea of using various forms
of angled mirrors to bring additional natural light into a building. After the destruction
of the Chappuis factory in 1943, the patent lapsed and it was only when an Australian
company Solatube International rediscovered the idea in 1986 that solar tubes were
again used in modern buildings.
Natural light is collected at the top of the lighting tube using a domed, transparent
cupola that collects sunlight and reflects it into a reflective metal tube. The cupola
is usually situated on the roof or an outer wall of the building. Many cupolas have
a Fresnel lens, directional collectors or additional reflectors to capture more directional
light. The metal itself tube is lined with a reflective material a that leads light
through the building to the intended area. The most efficient solar tube designs
are short and straight, as longer or angled tubes can cause some loss of light intensity.
A diffuser at the end of the tube spreads the light evenly into the room.
An innovative design was developed by the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia in 1993. In this design, an acrylic panel redirects sunlight into a horizontal or vertical reflective pipe. The pipe contains a triangular light-
The main advantage of solar lighting tubes is that they reduce energy consumption.
They do not require electricity to function and they have better heat insulation
properties than conventional skylights. Solar lighting tubes can also benefit those
who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) because they increase the amount
of exposure to natural light.
A range of solar tube lighting kits can be purchased at Amazon.com. Installation
of the kits requires some basic building knowledge and the appropriate tools.
Solar lighting tube kits cost in the range of US$180.95-
Separate parts for solar lighting tubes are also available from Amazon.com. Items
such as a 48-
Solar lighting tubes are generally very well reviewed. Most systems received good or very good ratings. A range of reviews can be found here.
The term 'solar tube' can be used to describe two very different objects. A solar
lighting tube is used to bring additional natural light into a building, while a
solar heating tube, (also known as a solar thermal collector) is a type of solar
panel that can be used to provide heating for residential and commercial properties.
A solar lighting tube is a metal tube that is used to transport natural light into a building from outside. The solar tube effectively provides light to poorly lit areas of a building, or areas which would otherwise not receive any natural light.
STC Tube Heating Kits are more expensive than solar panels, with prices starting
at US$215.99 for a basic solar collector kit from Alibaba.com. More expensive kits
include an electrical back-
A range of parts, such as additional STC tubes, water tanks and pump stations are available from Amazon.com and Alibaba.com as well as a number of other retailers.
STC tubes have generally received positive reviews. A comprehensive review of STC tubes can be found at Solar Panels Plus. A clear guide to operation of solar tube collectors, including how to decide the size of solar tube collectors required can be found at Apricus.com.
Another type of solar tube is a called a solar thermal collector. This is a kind
of solar 'panel' is used for heating water and space heating. The tube collects electromagnetic
radiation (heat) from sunlight and converts it to a useable form using a heat exchanger.
Solar thermal collectors can be used to generate heat for domestic and commercial
There are two main types of STC design: the Evacuated Heat Pipe Tube (EHPT) and Glass-
Solar thermal collector tubes are often considered more energy efficient than flat
plate solar collectors first developed in the 1950s by Hottel and Whillier. The vacuum
inside the outer layer of the STC tube greatly reduces energy loss due to conduction
and convection, which means that STC tubes can be more effective than flat plate
solar collectors in colder climates. In warmer climates, the high efficiency of the
STC tubes means they are mainly used in commercial ventures such as solar power stations.
Domestic STC tubes are typically arranged in rows along a roof, with a range of 10-
Kits are available from many different solar tube heating companies across the world.
Amazon.com provide a range of options, depending on the size and number of tube panels
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