Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lighting Your Home - The Common Mistakes

The importance of proper lighting on the look and comfort of a home is often underestimated. Families spend huge amounts of money on home décor only to find that the results are not what they wanted. A major culprit in this is incorrect lighting. In fact, it is possible to give your home a new look by focusing on lighting and reducing the amount spent on designers, decorators and furnishings.

Below are some of the common mistakes people make. If any of these apply to you, maybe a change of lighting will give your home the new look you want.

What Not To Do
  • Do not rely on only one light source. Layering light at different heights by using overhead, floor and table lamps will create pools of light that can highlight special parts of a room.
  • Overly bright lighting can make your home look like an office or hospital. Harsh lighting makes a room, and the people in it look harsh. Using dimmers and soft white bulbs allows you to create the kind of ambience you want – one that matches your mood. Using daylight as much a possible will give a room a clean fresh look. If windows do not allow enough natural light to enter, consider using daylighting systems.
  • Keep wattage in mind. Not all rooms require the same amount of light. A living room may need to be bright and cheerful, but the same amount of lighting can make a dining room look like a fast food outlet. Match the brightness to the room and what it is used for.
  • Do not go overboard with recessed lighting. It is not suitable for many parts of the home. While it can give a room a clean uncluttered look, it can also be very harsh and flat and ruin the ambience. A good thumb rule to follow is to use recessed lighting only in functional areas of the home like laundry rooms, garages and so on.
  • Do not forget that moods change. There are times when the family may want a bright cheerful living or family room. At other times, a softer more relaxed look may be better. Using dimmers will allow lighting to match moods.
  • Do not ignore closets. Because closets are not living areas, they tend to be given step motherly treatment. Remember that a well-lit closet makes finding the clothes you want (this blue shirt, not that one!) much easier. Closets do not have windows, but installing a daylighting system will provide the right amount of natural light to enable you to see colors and shades as they really are, so you can choose your clothes easily.
  • Pay attention to where switches are placed. A badly placed switch can be difficult to reach or it may block the possibility of hanging something nice on the wall.

Consider Daylighting

Do not ignore the varied applications of daylighting systems that enable you to bring natural light into every part of your home, even those where there are no windows or where windows do not provide enough light. They are easy to install, give you a wide range of lighting options and because they do not need electricity, can reduce your utility bills significantly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Tubular Daylighting Device

Daylighting systems are the modern way to be green by bringing natural daylight into parts of a home where not enough light was available from windows and skylights. The only options used to be to use electric lights in the daytime which was costly and not environmental friendly. A lot of people are now reading up on daylighting systems and finding that this offers the best way of providing natural light in their homes. One problem they often encounter is the reference to a tubular daylight device. What is it? Is it the light fixture mounted on the wall? No, it is not. It is an integral part of the daylighting system but one that is not seen. Here is a simple explanation of what a tubular daylighting device is.
The Light Tube

A tubular daylighting device (TDD) is also called a light tube. A daylighting system works by using a dome on the roof of a building to collect daylight. The light is then transmitted through the building to the room where it is required by the TDD. The tube has an interior coating of highly reflective material which conducts the light down the tube with minimal loss. The reflective nature of the inner surface of the tube allows it to bend and change direction without almost any loss of light. The tube runs through walls to the area of the building where the natural light is required. It terminates in a diffuser assembly or light fitting from which light is provided to the space. The fittings are available in a variety of designs to match most home styles.

The Technology

The TDD is therefore at the heart of the daylighting system because it brings the daylight indoors, passing through walls and going around corners. It was invented in 1993 by Solatube International. Although many others have since entered the field, Solatube remains the world leader.
The inner surface of the Solatube TDD is made up of multiple coatings of proprietary materials that reject the undesirable ultraviolet and infrared light spectrums. There is also an aluminum substrate that allows any heat to be dissipated near the roof line before it can enter the building. This means that only visible light is carried through the tube to the interior. There is only a 0.3 % of light loss with each bounce off the reflective surfaces. This means that the tube can be of up to 50 feet in length and can be turned at 90 degree angles with only minimal loss of light. Because of this ability, it is possible to carry the light to even the most interior parts of a home.

The Benefits

The TDD is simple to install as it resembles normal ducting. It is surprisingly inexpensive. Elegant fittings are available to match any room décor. Once installed, there are no running costs. And perhaps equally importantly, it is a way to make a home green and environmentally friendly.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Daylight and Your Health Part – 1

Modern lifestyles have limited our exposure to sunlight. Most of us spend the greater part of the day indoors, sitting at a desk and looking at a computer monitor. The ill effects of this are well documented and magazines and the internet are full of advice on how to exercise and eat properly to stay fit. However, there is not so much information available about what happens when we are stuck indoors with little exposure to sunlight. Perhaps it’s because of the fear of skin cancer and other conditions related to excessive exposure to sunlight. But inadequate exposure too has its dangers. Here are some things you need to know about the benefits of getting enough sunlight.

Lower Blood Pressure

Research done at the University of Edinburgh has found that when sunlight touches the skin, a compound called Nitric Oxide is released into the system. This compound helps the metabolism to lower blood pressure and by doing this reduces the risk of suffering from strokes and heart attacks. 

Improved Bone Health

The strength of your bones is related to the body’s ability to absorb and make use of calcium, which is a prime factor in bone strength. When sunlight cones into contact with the skin, vitamin D3 is produced which controls the waycalcium and other chemicals are absorbed. The more vitamin D3 you have in your system, the better your bone health and the lower your chances of suffering factures. As you age your bones become more fragile which means that exposure to adequate amounts of sunlight is even more important for older adults.

Improved Brain Function

New research is showing that Vitamin D has many other benefits besides promoting healthy bones. A study of 1,700 adults of the age of 65 and over found that cognitive function was directly related to the amounts of vitamin D in the body. The lower the level, the more the mental abilities were reduced. Additional studies have found that sunlight exposure may help the growth of nerve cells in the hippocampus part of the brain which is where memory is stored and organized.

Eases Feeling Of Depression

Humans almost universally equate brightness with cheerfulness and darkness with gloom. When a long period of cold dark weather causes prolonged feeling of mild depression (typically in winter), it is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This mild depression is also common among those who spend long hours working indoors with little or no exposure to the sun.  The reason for this is that moderate exposure to sunlight increases the body’s ability to produce natural antidepressant chemicals like Serotonin, which are mood elevators.

Improved Sleep Quality

The natural instinct to be active in daylight and sleep at night is called the Circadian Rhythm. The body produces a chemical called Melatonin that causes drowsiness. When the eyes are exposed to sunlight, the production of Melatonin is shut down and it resumes when the eyes send a signal that the body is no longer in bright conditions. If too much melatonin is produced during the day because of inadequate sunlight exposure, not enough is produced at night, resulting in poor sleep quality.

In the next part of this blog we will look at more conditions and how the use of daylightingsystems can help to remedy the problem.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Brief History of Daylighting

Early man started living in caves because they offered protection from the elements. The downside was that the interior was always dark. Caves with large entrances did allow more light to enter, but also made the entry of predators, cold and rain easier. This was how man lived for millennia until he learned how to make shelters of wood and leaves which were more comfortable and allowed more light to enter, but the problem of more opening for light meant less protection.

The Advent of Glass

There is evidence that glass was first developed in Egypt over 5,000 years ago. However, it was not used in construction until the 1st century BC when the Romans used it to allow light to enter buildings while keeping the elements at bay.

From small squares of glass fixed into walls to larger panes and skylights and finally windows that could open and close was a slow progress that took centuries. As architecture developed and became more complex, glass played an increasing bigger role not just in lighting indoor spaces but as an integral element of design. By the medieval period, stained glass was being used in cathedral architecture and ever larger window frames allowed light to play an increasingly important role in interior design.

Daylighting at Work

By the 17thcentury, large panes of glass were being manufactured in England and this allowed the first organized indoor manufacturing to begin. By the time of the industrial revolution, glass walls and wrap around windows were being used to maximize the light available in workplaces. The problem was that the high ceilings that this required meant that space could not be economically used. Lowering ceiling height added more space, but reduced the amount of light available.

The Arrival of Electricity

When electric lighting became available at the end of the 19thcentury, it was thought that daylighting was no longer essential. Work could now go on day and night in factories and offices and at home people did not have to live with dim candle light after nightfall. Since daylight was no longer essential, windows became smaller and ceiling lower. Interior spaces became more cramped but at least lack of light was no longer a problem. In fact, there was a time when there was a trend in constructing windowless factories and schools.

And Then There Was the Energy Crisis

When the energy crisis hit in the 1970s, people and governments realized that they could no longer be totally dependent of fossil fuels for power. Geopolitical considerations and the fact that the supply of fuel was not unlimited, prompted a search for alternatives. At the macro level renewable energy became the buzzword. But at the home, factory and office, daylighting became the viable and cost effective option.

Daylighting Today

Modern daylighting systems allow for even the most interior spaces in a structure to get daylight. Once installed, the light is free and there is nothing to wear out. New technologies mean that there is no excess heat that enters the building and so no increased air conditioning costs. For the homeowner, it is the ideal way to cut electricity bills and be environmental friendly.

Electricity is going to always increase in cost. Installing a modern daylighting system in your home, office or factory today will pay itself off faster than you may think and from then on, the savings will only increase. Contact a company that specializes in daylight systems to learn more about the economics and benefits of installing them in your home or place of work.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What You Need To Know About Tubular Daylighting Devices

If you are building a home or remodeling an existing one, lighting is an issue you and your designer / architect have discussed. It is a key factor in the look, feel, comfort and safety that your family will enjoy. At the same time, with energy costs going up every day, you don’t want to be saddled with inflated electricity bills. Windows and skylights are essential for both light and ventilation, but they may not give you the light you need. Or designs consideration may limit the number and size of the windows you can have. Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) offer you the perfect solution. Here are a few facts about the technology that will help you to decide if it is right for you and your home.

  • Great Lighting. A single TDD in a room can offer dramatic results. One device can provide the kind of illumination you would expect from a skylight many times its size.
  • It’s Economical. The cost of TDDs is significantly less that other natural light option, such a windows and skylights. This applies to both the product price as well as the installation costs.
  • Installation is quick and simple. Installing a daylighting device does not require any structural modification of the home. Even drywalling and painting is eliminated. It is a great DIY project and most homeowners with basic DIY abilities will be able to install a device in a day. A professional will typically be able to complete the job in a couple of hours.
  • They can be installed almost anywhere.  The design of TDDs is extremely compact and the technology is designed to allow for installation in just about every part of the home. This includes spaces that do not have direct roof access or where windows cannot be installed. Think about that large gloomy closet you have. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to open the door and have it full of bright natural light?
  • It’s green. With TDDs you can switch off your electric lights during daylight hours. This will not only reduce your energy bills but also enable you to do your part in reducing environmental pollution. You pay nothing for the light and no fuels are consumed to provide it.
  • It’s healthy. Have you noticed how good you feel when in sunlight? With TDDs you can bring the light, and the same feeling, to every corner of your home. It’s not just a feeling you have. Numerous scientific studies have shown that an increased exposure to natural light can improve mental and physical wellbeing and also boost energy levels and the ability to concentrate.

The growing awareness of the benefits of daylighting devices means that you have a number of manufacturers to choose from. You don’t install daylighting devices every year. Go in for a known and reputed manufacturer with an established track record. And look for the Energy Star label on the products which means that they have met the very strict quality and functional specifications of both the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Great ways to make your workplace eco friendly

As the world gets more aware of climate change and global warming, people have started realizing that individuals can make a difference. These days, people don’t sit back with a lackadaisical attitude and wait for someone else to do the right thing. They take it upon themselves to lead rather than to follow. Taking it a step further, employers have extended their eco friendly choices to the workplace and try to influence their employees to become environmentally aware. Here are some tips to make your office green.

Start by setting an example

Inspire by leading. If you start being environmentally friendly yourself at your workplace, it would inspire others to do the same. Small things like turning off unnecessary lights, bringing your lunch in a paper bag, bringing down the use of paper are all things that you can do in a normal working day. Soon, people will notice.

Have a reduce, reuse and recycle drive

Ask your employees to make a list of all the unnecessary things that are in the office which are not environmentally friendly, and ask them to come up with greener choices. Pick one day of the month to bring together everything that can be reused and recycle them. You can even ask them to bring reusable or recyclable items from their homes on the day of the drive and get them motivated to follow this up regularly at home too.

Introduce green products into the workplace

There are many green products available for the workplace from recycled paper to recycled furniture and non toxic paints.

Install daylighting systems in the office

Daylighting systems are the ideal way to make your workplace brighter and healthier. Research shows that productivity in employees increase when working under natural light. Daylighting systems are easy to install and bring natural, healthy light indoors.

Reward the most eco friendly employee every month

This is a great incentive to get your employees to embrace environmental awareness. If they get rewarded for being eco friendly, they will try harder and before they know it, it will be a habit.

Ventilate your workspace and reduce the use of the cooling system

Most workplaces have very bad indoor air quality which puts the health of the employees in jeopardy. Ventilation helps send out stale air and bring in fresh air, and maintains healthy indoor air quality. It also helps keep the interior cool longer, reducing the use of the cooling systems. Worried about the energy consumption to keep the ventilation system working? Solar powered attic fans can be installed and they use the sun’s energy to ventilate your space. You will be using the limitless and free energy of the sun to keep your interior ventilated.

Solatube dealer in the Bay Area

Sunlight Concepts is the leading dealer of Solatube products in the Bay Area. You can visit their websites at and . You can also call them at 1-855-DAY-LITE to fix an appointment.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Seven Tips for Keeping Cool this Summer

Doesn’t it feel good to finally pack up the warm clothes and welcome the summer? But, the summer promises to be a scorcher. Here are a few tips to help you get through the summer heat.

Wear cool cotton clothes

Summer is the time to bring out all those lovely cottons. Cotton lets your body breathe and absorbs moisture. If you are one of those people who hate cotton because of the upkeep involved, you get lovely cotton blends with a high percentage of cotton that keeps you cool and are easy to maintain.

Ventilate your home

Most homes and offices are centrally air conditioned. To ensure that the cooling system works efficiently, you must make sure that your home is well insulated. The downside is that, stale air gets trapped in the house. Solution – Make sure that your home is well ventilated. Solatube has the advanced Solar Star range of solar powered attic fans. With these attic fans you ensure that the quality of air in your home is good and it costs nothing in terms of energy consumption.

Keep yourself hydrated

Drinking a couple of glasses of water a day won’t suffice. On really hot days, you must drink plenty of water, especially if you work in the sun. Even a stint of gardening during a hot day could dehydrate you.

Keep cooking at a minimum

Whether you cook on a burner or use the oven, it causes the temperature in your home to rise. This is the time of the year to try out all those cold dishes that you’ve read about but have never tried. Stick to fruits, tossed, fresh salads and cold cuts of meat.

Use a cool spritzer to refresh yourself

A great pick me up on a very warm day is a spritzer. You can easily make one at home. Add a few drops of lavender, lemon or mint to a nozzled bottle of water and spritz yourself a couple of times a day.

Use heavy drapes over the windows

Dark, heavy drapes on the window keeps sunlight out, and cools down the house. If you have heavy drapes over your window, you can use the cooling system minimally.

Use natural light instead of artificial lights

Dark drapes keep the sun out, but they often make the home gloomy, making it necessary for you to use interior lights. Did you know that artificial lights raise the temperature of the room? A perfect alternative is to install daylighting systems that cost nothing to operate as they use the beneficial rays of the sun. They can be installed on the rooftop and they bring in healthy, natural light into the home, lighting up your interiors evenly.

Solatube green products

Sunlight Concepts have a fine range of green products to help you keep cool this summer. Check out their websites at and . You can call them at 1-855-DAY-LITE or request a quote at

Monday, May 25, 2015

Enhance your decor the green way with decorative fixtures

Your home is where your heart is. You surely want your home to look as beautiful as possible. Whether you are building a new home or renovating an old one, one of the most important things to consider is the theme that you are going for. Why is that important? You need to know your theme before starting the building work. The color that you pick to paint the house, the style of the building, even the kind of fixtures that you add will all reflect the theme of the house.

Different strokes for different folks

A Victorian mansion

Are you going in for a large Victorian mansion with wrought iron gates, carved and curlicued reeves and spouts? An old fashioned house looks great with bare brick walls and ivy growing up the side, on the outside. You can paint it in rich colors on the inside. Or, you can use pretty Victorian themed wallpapers. Antique furniture with heavy velvet drapes and wooden flooring will complete the picture. Heavily curtained mansions are usually pretty dark inside. Use daylighting systems to let in more light into the house. And let’s not forget the fixtures. Go for decorative fixtures like the classic decorative fixture, The Tierdrop from Solatube that will enhance the look of a classic home. 

Minimalistic and simple

Are you more into minimalism? You can build a beautiful medley of glass and steel, which is all the rage right now. A wall to wall shag carpet, dominant colors like black, red and white will all meld together to give a dramatic look. You can paint the walls in a light color and have some gorgeous paintings with focus lighting, or you can have one dominant colored wall that sets the tone for the accessories in the room. Blinds look great in minimalistic homes. Have minimum doors and walls and more of an open planned building that gives the feel of space and air. You can install daylighting systems to get in more light into the home. The chic Optiview from Solatube would be a perfect fit in this kind of home.

An artsy cottage

If you have a small space to decorate, why not make it into a quirky and cute cottage with lots of colors and lots of light. Pretty chintz curtains, pretty colored rugs scattered around and mismatched furniture is a whole studio type look that is perfect for a single or a newlywed couple. A cottage doesn’t have many windows and could do with a daylighting system to bring the natural rays of the sun indoors. The flashings for Solatube daylighting systems can be used on flat or pitched roofs. If you have a cottage with a slanting roof, you can still install it. The VividShade fixture would be perfect for an arty home.

Blend of old and new

You don’t have to settle on old or new. You can settle on comfortable. Instead of going in for an old fashioned look or a modern look, with good choices, you can blend the two to make a visually aesthetic home. Give your antique furniture a modern touch with trendy material and colors.  Use contemporary carpets for your wooden floor. Match the colors with some artfully picked wall art. AuroGlo from Solatube would be a perfect fit into this home that brings together old and new.

Sunlight Concepts from the Bay Area

Sunlight Concepts stock the beautiful decorative fixtures created by Solatube for their daylighting systems. You can check them out at You can call them at (408) 844-0081.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The benefits of residential Solatubes

The most important benefit of residential Solatubes is providing us with the healthy benefits of the sun. Sunlight is beneficial to us in many ways. It contains vitamins that our body needs. Most people know that sunlight provides us with Vitamin D. 

Do you know that there are different types of Vitamin D? 

There are two types of vitamin D that our body needs. Vitamin D2 whose clinical term is ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3 whose clinical term is cholecalciferol. We get Vitamin D2 from the food we eat. It is present in plants that grow in sunlight and is an important supplement for our body. Vitamin D3 is produced by the human body when exposed to the rays of the sun. The body needs daily exposure to the sun to produce this vitamin. 

What are the deficiencies that could arise due to Vitamin D deficiency?

Your body needs a sufficient amount of Vitamin D to function effectively.
A report in the Women’s Health magazine, Why You Need More Vitamin D by Alisa Bowmen, states that studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a large number of health problems; these include pregnancy related problems, several types of cancer, depression, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

How can you ensure that your body is getting adequate Vitamin D?

A good exposure to sunlight everyday will ensure that your body receives adequate Vitamin D. These days, with our lifestyles, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get exposed to sunlight. Homes are insulated, and so are the workplaces. Schools are insulated, we travel in covered vehicles and we even exercise indoors in centrally temperature controlled gyms. 

A good way to ensure that your body gets enough sunlight even if you don’t get out much is by installing residential Solatube systems. Solatube has spent millions on developing the most advanced technology to ensure that they are making eco-friendly products that benefits us. Their residential Solatube products are created, keeping in mind our lifestyle these days. It is not only helpful to our health but it also cuts down our energy consumption. They come in easy to install, easy to maintain and good looking products that add to the resale value of your home. 

Here are some Solatube residential systems that make our lives healthier.
  • Solatube Daylighting Systems are engineered to efficiently capture the sun’s rays and pipe them into your home. The result is brighter, more colorful rooms that cost nothing to light. And because installation can usually be done in about two hours with no structural changes, it's the fastest and simplest solution to a more beautiful home.
  • Solatube Smart LED, a revolutionary day and night home lighting solution that cuts lighting energy use by 94%. This innovative system unites advanced LED technology with state-of-the-art daylighting, so you get energy-efficient lighting that is cost-effective and eco-friendly.
  • As the leader in solar-powered attic ventilation systems, Solar Star offers technologically advanced and eco-friendly solutions that deliver comfort and peace of mind. By harnessing the power of the sun, Solar Star Attic Fans cost nothing to operate and are virtually maintenance-free. They also require no electrical wiring, making them easy to install and maintain. Since Solar Star Attic Fans prevent heat and moisture from reaching critical levels, your attic stays cool and dry. As a result, you get greater comfort, lower utility bills and prolonged roof life.
Get a Solatube for your residence and make it a healthier space. You can check out their green products at and . Call 1-855-DAY-LITE to get an appointment with their staff.