Until recently, Newington High School in Newington, Conn., hadn’t been updated for 40 years. Its media center, centrally located within the building and surrounded by corridors and classrooms, had no openings facing the exterior and, thus, no daylight. Although the school’s retrofit project originated from the need to address exit security issues and replace interior finishes, the staff suggested that daylight might also be incorporated.
Enter Solatube International’s “Operation Textbook” program, which donates Solatube Daylighting Systems to schools desperately in need of daylight. Architect Kevin Lipe, AIA, LEED AP, with Jacunski Humes Architects, knew that Newington High School was a perfect fit for the program. Working closely with Willco Sales & Service, the Solatube Commercial Distributor for New England, they installed a number of Solatube SolaMaster 750 DS-C units to bring daylight into the school’s darkest spaces.
“Since the media center was one story, penetrations from the roof yielded immediate openings into the space below and made the decision to use Solatube Daylighting Systems quite simple,” Lipe said.
Once ceiling grids and electrical lighting (for night hours) were worked out, the units were positioned for the greatest dispersion of natural light throughout the room. Diffusers laid into the grid gave the units the same appearance as recessed fluorescents. Units were also clustered to accentuate gathering areas, such as in the circulation department and quiet reading areas.
“I was impressed with the difference natural daylight brought to the room. Before the project, turning off the room lights left most of the space in darkness and brought to a stop whatever activities were underway. Now, turning off the lights causes an almost imperceptible change to light levels and activities continue on uninterrupted,” Lipe said. “Solatube Daylighting Systems greatly enhance the quality of ambient light throughout the space without shadows, glare or direct sun.”
To support increased daylight in education, Solatube International, the largest worldwide manufacturer and distributor of tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), is continuing its highly successful program to donate Solatube Daylighting Systems to qualifying schools and colleges in 2014. The program is for PreK-12 school districts and higher education institutions interested in adding daylight to their facilities, up to 10 units per organization. Nineteen of these projects were completed in 2013.
Designers or facility managers interested in Solatube International’s “Operation Textbook” program for donated Solatube units can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About Solatube International
Solatube International, Inc., widely recognized as the daylighting industry innovator, has earned worldwide acclaim for its unrivaled ability to transform interior spaces with natural light. Based in California, the company is the leading manufacturer and marketer of tubular daylighting devices (TDDs) for all types of residential and commercial applications, and it continues to innovate with groundbreaking products that increase energy efficiency and light output, such as the award-winning Smart LED System and the high output SkyVault Series. For more information about the company and its related products, visit www.solatube.com or call 888-SOLATUBE.