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Let There be Light (and Sun Tunnels)

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about VELUX Sun Tunnels!

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Organic modern dining room and hallway with abstract modern artwork

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, one of the best decisions we have ever made for our house, in terms of renovations, has been adding VELUX skylights. But there are a few areas in our home where Sun Tunnels are the better choice, for various reasons. And guess what…we just had five Sun Tunnels installed!

Now that we have both options in our home, I can compare the two and share my honest opinion. In case you’re deciding between the two. Or simply want to know more about Sun Tunnels.

*And it’s perfect timing too because you can enter to win your very own VELUX Sun Tunnels for your home through all of July. All the details for how to enter are at the end of the post. So don’t miss it.

Skylight installers on roof installing sun tunnels

Skylights vs Sun Tunnels

Now that I have both (skylights and Sun Tunnels), I can confidently say that I love BOTH. Each has their place, so let’s go through it…

Skylights provide the most amount of natural light, when comparing the two. And you also have the option to have ventilation with fresh air skylights that you wouldn’t have with Sun Tunnels, for example.

But Sun Tunnels are easier and faster to install, more affordable than skylights, and can be installed in tight spaces that skylights wouldn’t be able to get into. Like rooflines that don’t allow for skylights, crowded attic spaces, etc. And while Sun Tunnels don’t provide as much natural light as a full blown skylight does, they still provide transformative amounts of light. And look great.

Whether you choose Sun Tunnels or skylights boils down to:

  • the amount of natural light you’re hoping to achieve
  • your specific situation, when it comes to roofing and attic details
  • and your budget

For our house, there are use cases for each of the two. So, the areas we had Sun Tunnels installed are a great fit for Sun Tunnels, in our particular house. And likewise, the areas that we had our skylights installed are perfect for skylights. Generally, skylights are great for living spaces, bedrooms, and kitchens. And Sun Tunnels are great for laundry rooms, hallways, and bathrooms.

You can see our VELUX skylights install here. We have ten skylights.

Before and after Sun Tunnels have been installed in a small bathroom

Organic modern bathroom with rock floors and olive green vanity

Where We Installed Sun Tunnels

1) Bathroom

Our guest bathroom (which is also Hayes’ bathroom) was very, very dark when we moved in. There is a small window, but with our extended eaves from the roof and the frosted glass, hardly any light was getting into this room. As you can see from the before photo.

We added two Sun Tunnels the REALLY brighten things up. Then end result feels light and airy. Leaps and bounds better than before. And we almost never even have to turn the lights on to see in here now. Before we absolutely had to flip the light on to see in this tiny bathroom.

I should probably mention…We have plans to completely remodel this space in the future. But for now, some fresh paint and decor helps make this space feel updated, especially with all the natural light coming in from the Sun Tunnels. Natural light makes EVERYTHING better when it comes to interiors.

Before and after hallway with an arch and hardwood floors

Large arch into hallway with white walls and a view of neutral earthy bathroom

2) Hallway

Previously, in the hallway, we had one (very old and tiny) overhead light. It didn’t provide very much light at all and the space felt a little claustrophobic because of how dark it was.

Now that we’ve installed a Sun Tunnel in here, it feels more spacious and inviting. Especially with the hallway being right off the guest bathroom – that whole section of the house has brightened up. And with the new arch that now goes from the hallway to the dining room, the Sun Tunnel shines light directly onto the artwork I have hanging in there. Makes it feel a bit more special and fancy, imo.

Mid century entryway with sun tunnels looking into organic modern living room

Mid century open concept entryway and living room with wood and leather furniture

3) Entryway

Last but not least, let’s talk about our entryway.

In the summer especially this area doesn’t get very much sunlight at all, even with the reeded glass door (again because of the extended eaves). And skylights were not an option because our roof right above this space is very high and weird, to explain it simply. So, we installed two Sun Tunnels to bring in some of the natural light we’d been missing right here.

It really has transformed the vibe when you walk in the front door and has even brought some additional natural light into the kitchen, which was a pleasant surprise.

Which of the three spaces do you think is the most transformed with the new Sun Tunnels?

Sun Tunnel installation in small hallway with white walls

Where should you use Sun Tunnels in a home?

I like them for bathrooms, laundry rooms, hallways and any other areas that are considered tight or tricky spaces.

For example, our hallway and entryway areas are places that skylight installs would not be possible because of the roof and attic above those areas. Sun Tunnels make it possible to still get natural light into those spaces.

How much light does a Sun Tunnel provide?

It’s hard to describe in words – I think the before and after photos say it all. But they provide even natural light any space.

And one of the other really cool things about VELUX Sun Tunnels is that you can have solar night lights installed with your Sun Tunnels, that go inside the tunnel (you can’t see them from the outside).

They have a photovoltaic solar panel that charges up during the day, inside the tunnel, from the natural light, and that energy is stored to create a soft glow at night. It really helps light the way without the use of overhead lighting. Perfect for the middle of the night, when you don’t want to turn a harsh, bright light on to get to the bathroom or walk through the house.

Extra bonus…when you choose a solar night light for your Sun Tunnel, it qualifies you for the 26% solar tax credit! More on the tax credit below.

Sun Tunnels being installed in mid-century entryway

How are Sun Tunnels installed?

VELUX Sun Tunnel skylights have several parts:

  • a lens that is installed in the roof
  • a diffuser installed in the ceiling
  • and then the lens and diffuser are connected by a highly reflective aluminum tunnel that directs clear, bright daylight to the room below. So cool!

Typical installation time is only about 2 hours.

What do Sun Tunnels look like on the roof?

We went with VELUX Wildfire Sun Tunnels that are specifically designed for Wildland Urban Interface zones (since I live in an area that can be prone to wildfires). Which means the Sun Tunnels we have are made of all fire resistant materials on the exterior, with a fireproof tempered diamond wire flat glass, allowing it to pass an ASTM E108 Class A Burn Brand Test. Important for anyone who lives in an area prone to fires.

They are also shaped a little different that regular Sun Tunnels on the exterior. So mine look like regular skylights from the exterior roofline (flat glass on top, not domed).

Sun Tunnels that don’t need to be fire rated come in dome shape or flat glass, so you have options for what they look like from the roofline. You can learn more about this here.

Sun Tunnels being installed in a small, white bathroom with a ladder

How much do Sun Tunnels cost?

I always find it helpful to know approximate costs, so I wanted to be sure to include this info. As I’m sure you can guess, prices vary based on location and what type of Sun Tunnel(s) you select for your home. As a jumping off point, prices vary from somewhere around $650 to $2150 (which includes product and install), depending on the type of roof and the complexity of the installation.

VELUX also has an estimated cost breakdown on their website, that goes through Sun Tunnel price ranges that you might find helpful.

Is there a tax credit available?

If you opt for Sun Tunnels with the solar night light (like I have), assuming they are installed before Dec 31, 2022, then YES there is a tax credit involved: it’s a 26% federal tax credit. We love having the solar night light on all of our Sun Tunnels, so we can see at night without having to turn a light on. So I highly recommend going that route, if you can.

That’s it for now. Let me know if you have any Sun Tunnel or skylight comparison questions at all. I’m happy to answer.

Before and after bathroom transformation in minimal, neutral space

Neutral, beach bathroom makeover with white walls and linens

Enter to Win VELUX Sun Tunnels

Wanna win Sun Tunnels for your home? The VELUX Daylight to Night Light Sweepstakes will brighten any room in your home with VELUX Sun Tunnel Skylights. The grand prize is two VELUX Sun Tunnel Skylights with solar night lights and installation included. The sweeps is open from 9 am on July 1 and closes at 11:59 pm on July 31, 2022. Enter to win here!

This post is sponsored by VELUX. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help me continue to bring content like this to you.

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