Passive Solar Lighting: Options to Brighten Your Home

March 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Solar Panels

Solar lighting can be an environmentally friendly, low cost way to illuminate your home. Most people think this means utilizing solar panels to generate the power needed to use light bulbs, but there are multiple ways to use sunlight for your home’s lighting needs. Read further to discover four additional alternatives for making passive solar lighting work for your home.

The most common type of passive lighting is the skylight. Skylights are an excellent way to get natural light in your home, especially into small or windowless rooms. Sometimes they can be more effective at providing natural light than windows, because they are located on the roof and exposed to direct sunlight for most of the day.

Another great method of solar lighting is solar light tubes. These are perfectly suited for lighting dark closets, hallways, windowless garages, and interior bathrooms. Solar light tubes seem like cutting edge modern technology, but they’ve actually been around and in use since ancient times. They are typically smaller than skylights, around nine to twelve inches in diameter. The tubes hold reflective material to enhance how much light they emit. Because of the reflective material, they can be effective even without bright sunlight, so they can still work even when the skies are overcast. Because installation is done in the roof, it’s best to plan for and build them during the earliest stages of a home’s construction. However, it’s not too difficult to add them to most existing homes.

One of the most practical forms of solar lighting is solar exterior lighting. This system uses small solar cells to collect sunlight in the daytime and store it to use at night. If the lighting fixture is in a location that isn’t sunny enough to activate it, it can be wired to a solar cell that is mounted in a sunnier place. Solar exterior lighting has become more and more common, and is available in almost any lighting type. Solar cells can power patio lights, porch lights, spotlights, and motion-detector security lights. Security lighting is ideally suited to be run by solar cell because it will still work during power outages or blackouts.

A practical and aesthetically pleasing type of solar lighting is solar landscaping lighting. These are available in many different sizes and styles as well as for different functions. For example, solar spotlights can accentuate garden sculptures, fountains, or trees. Low-level solar lighting is useful for outlining garden borders or driveways. Some solar lighting fixtures are taller to brighten outdoor gathering spaces like gazebos or patios. Mid-level solar lighting is a great option to light footpaths or sidewalks if anti-glare screens are used. Solar party lights are great for creating atmosphere for special occasions and comfortable outdoor living.

There are many ways to make use of solar energy, and one of the simplest is passive solar lighting. From smaller, economical garden lights, to costlier skylights when you’re ready for a new home or roof, there are many options to fit any budget. Anyone can utilize solar lighting for a greener lifestyle and a brighter home with no additional cost in energy bills.