Tubular daylighting devices are often specified into multi-storey residential projects, education, healthcare and aged care facilities as a way to ensure natural light provides a large proportion of the illumination. Natural light has multifaceted benefits but especially in relation to learning, health and our natural circadian rhythms.
While tubular daylighting devices have now been around for some time, and continue to be specified more frequently for these reasons, what has caused a headache for many designers is the intricate and complex calculations required in order to ascertain the exact effect installing one will have on an area’s lighting.
“Traditionally, creating a daylight design was done through this complex series of calculations where you would end up with screeds and screeds of information relating to different hours of the day, different areas, and different locations within a room, dwelling or floor,” HomeTech’s Manny Boyack says.
“With this new software we’ve developed, all that is a thing of the past. The new Solatube Daylighting Calculator software comes up with a compliant daylight design based on a number of variables, such as the size of the room, how high it is, the drop of the tubular device, and where it is geographically.
“The design will then tell you exactly how the tubular devices will perform and what sort of light it will deliver into an area – it can be created to achieve a specific lux level,” Manny says. “Without this software, it was almost impossible to tell exactly how tubular devices would perform. It takes the guesswork out of providing light performance levels.”
HomeTech is the only New Zealand company to provide this software-based calculation and offers it as a free service for any type of project.
Solatube daylighting devices are BRANZ-appraised and can meet the criteria for G7, which is the clause in the Building Code that specifies how much natural light is required for different types of projects.
“Because it requires a specific level of natural light, we can put that level into the software and come up with a design that will meet it exactly, including the exact location of the tubular devices, and how many would be required,” Manny says.
HomeTech works with architects and designers as well as directly with clients. Point by point designs are achieved, which are especially favoured by architects who often want to provide a visual representation to clients of how a room will be lit. “We often provide the photometric IES files to architects once we’ve created the design so they can easily be incorporated into renders.”
If you’re interested in the potential of tubular devices, get in touch with HomeTech on ArchiPro here and ask about their free Solatube daylighting design service.