Solar Tube: Get the light in!

Remember this?


The copper box stadium in London built for the 2012 Olympics.

It is one of the energy efficient building designs of the games which has seen some of  the innovative solutions including the use of recycled tubes to build the temporary stands in the main stadium.

This is how copper box looks from the inside

The lighting is called the ‘solar tube’ design.

Solar tubes are ‘pipes’ that allow light through them, they are made out of carbonates structures which are rigid and also direct the light through the them. The technical principle behind them is the Snell’s law of reflection.

Solar tubes are the next big thing in lighting for industries and to a small extent in residential spaces. It fits the bill of being the cool thing that is green and also eco friendly. If you are lucky to own your own roof , you can get them in and show off your eco friendliness.


Industrial units did catch the idea of natural lighting a long time back. The roof designs have what is called as the  roof lights.rooflight

But this design is not very efficient compared to solar tubes, just for the simple reason that the flat transparent sheets let light only during particular time of the day. On the contrary, solar tubes are designed to let the maximum light in throughout the day.

Modern industries have been adopting this new concept with great interest.

Facility_Solar tube

The adoption of such designs are critical for the industries in terms of energy saved and profits gained. This image is a roof top of an industry that consumes nearly 1MW of power for lighting loads alone.

Industrial roof

A power saving of 500kW , which is half of the total lighting loads will be a huge saving for this automobile manufacturing facility.

Small changes like this which costs less than the energy efficient LED lighting systems can reduce your net energy consumption.

And finally if you are worried you can’t drill a hole on your roof and put a tube, I have got some news for you.

What do you feel when you see the lights blink on your modem?


This device works the same wave as the solar tubes, except that instead of driving solar energy, these gadgets drive the LED through the tubes.


More on the light waveguides in the future…

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