Quick! Find the Solar Tube (in the Photo above)
From an energy and maintenance point of view, the perfect home is probably a cave: only one opening, deep underground or in the side of a mountain.
But most people don’t want to live that way.
So, modern homes have lots of (energy-leaking) doors and windows (now mitigated by triple-pane glass, argon gas, etc.).
So, what do you do if you have an older, darker home?
One option is to add skylights.
Aside from the considerable expense — typically, several thousand dollars — they can pose maintenance headaches.
That’s because they must be expertly installed and insulated, and even then can be condensation magnets, especially in bathrooms.
The result can be an ongoing moisture or even mold problem.
Alternative: Solar Tubes
Solar tubes avoid those problems.
Just like what they sound like, they let outside sun in, and through reflection, actually concentrate it. They also cost hundreds of dollars apiece (vs. thousands).
The effect is like having an extra overhead light in the room (or hall) — one that never needs to be switched off, and costs nothing once it’s installed.
Suprisingly, they admit quite a bit of light even on cloudy days.
I’m a big fan of them!
P.S.: In the photo above, guess which Kitchen ceiling light is actually the solar tube.
Answer: the biggest, brightest one.