27 August 2010

The Cold, Hard, Not Sunny Truth

We finally got our roofer out to (we thought) give us a bid to install a third solar tube in the mudroom, like the two we have in the kitchen:


As you can see, the kitchen has a large window, but with a 10' wide porch on the other side creating, effectively, about a 12' roof overhang over it, we were concerned that the windows alone wouldn't let in enough light. Then, midway through construction, I regretted the decision to put in two (which seemed like overkill, resulting from centering a recessed light over the island, so a single solar tube would have been off-center). In the end, though, two large solar tubes are pretty much perfect. As early as 7 in the morning (when the sun is just starting to come up on the other side of the house), we are able to use the kitchen without turning on any lights. They provide so much light that even now, two months after moving in, there are still times when I think I left a light on in the kitchen...but no, it's just the solar tubes.

The mudroom is the only room (other than the master potty and closet) without any natural light, and we've been regretting not putting in a solar tube during construction, so we had the roofer out to look at adding one. But it's not gonna work. The dome that sticks out the top of the roof is sufficiently ugly that we don't want to see it from the front of the house, and the tube material they use only spans 10'...but ours would have to be about 14-15' to reach to the back of the roof. The roofer did say that there are other types of solar tube materials that can span longer distances (as we were already aware), but his company doesn't think their quality is good enough, and we trust that opinion.

So we're bummed that another solar tube isn't in the cards for us -- but also feeling better about not having thought of it during construction (it would surely have cost more now) and happy to avoid the decision about how expensive is too expensive. So we're going to turn our attention to putting in a motion-sensing light switch in the mudroom, to at least save us the trouble of flipping the switch as soon as we come in from the garage with our hands full and the countdown on to disarm the alarm.

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