Do-it-yourself: Bringing sunlight indoors


There’s no doubt that the ultimate lighting is sunlight, but how do you light a room that is unable to have a skylight fitted? Lance Turner takes a look at how it’s done.

It’s not always easy to bring the sun indoors, but with a little ingenuity, it can be done. There are several methods that can be used to transfer light from your roof to a room needing a bit of brightening up.

The first method is the common skylight. These usually consist of a transparent or translucent panel in the roof and a corresponding diffuser panel in the room directly below it. The space between the roof panel and the ceiling diffuser is usually enclosed to make a duct. The skylight may be vented to help eliminate heat ingress while allowing in the light.

A skylight is the simplest solution where the room to be lit is directly below the roof. However, there are situations where this isn’t the case and another option is required.

Light doesn’t have to move in a straight line from the roof panel to the room diffuser. If you need to separate the two panels by a short distance horizontally then you can use a ducted system. These use an internally reflective duct or tube to bounce the light from the roof collector to the room diffuser. They can be thought of as a crude fibre optic system and can be quite effective in getting the light where it’s needed. The Solatube system is a good example of these.

Both the direct lighting and the ducted type skylights are quite common in Australia and are readily available. If you think your home could benefit from fitting a skylight or light duct or two (or three) then pick up the phone book, there are plenty of manufacturers and installers listed there.

There are times when the room to be lit is far away from any suitable roof area, such as when it is on the ground floor of a multi-storey building. While this may seem impossible to solve, it is in fact quite easy with the use of fibre optic cable.

Read the full article in ReNew 108

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