How An Optically Efficient Skylight Captures Light From Any Angle


Most skylights do not harvest nearly enough light to illuminate the building’s interior. Worse still, they squander much of the light they do harvest through inefficient transmission and dispersal. Only a highly functional integrated daylighting design will provide the many benefits commercial retailers are after: a self-sufficient system gathers the maximum amount of light, redirects it and disperses it in the most efficient way possible – so building owners can get the most out of their investment.

Traditional Skylight Method: Low Light, Big Problems

Most commercial skylights today use domes that are made from prismatic sheets, which is designed to scatter incoming light. Unfortunately, this method prevents the majority of the available light from entering the building.

The flaws in these designs are most evident when it is cloudy outside or the sun is low in the sky, as it is every day at sunrise, sunset, and throughout much of the year in northern regions. Some skylight manufacturers have attempted to get around this by incorporating tracking mirrors that are designed to move with sun. But these do not work when it’s overcast, and the extra moving parts lead to inevitable maintenance issues.

The New Solution: 3 Steps to Harvest from the Whole Sky

Admission: In order to actually benefit from daylight on the floor where the people walk, you need a solution that is engineered to capture as much sun as possible. The ideal design starts with an optically efficient clear dome. This allows light to pass through in a nearly straight line, no matter from which direction it enters. This means that a full 92% of visible light is harvested through the outer dome. Skylights that put a dispersing element on the outer dome layer are only able to admit a small portion of available light, and it’s already scattered upon admission. This scattering causes a high percentage of the transmitted light to be lost to outer space, lost to the roof curb, or lost to the purlins or trusses that support the roof.
Redirection: The Replex Whole Sky Dome uses parabolically curved mirrors that redirect incoming light downward toward the diffuser. Since the light only bounces once or twice before hitting the diffuser at the bottom of the unit, this maximizes light entering the building interior.
Dispersion: A dual diffuser at the bottom of a well-designed daylighting system makes it possible to disperse light uniformly throughout the interior of a building. Proper light dispersion means that there are no “hot spots” of concentrated light and heat, but rather uniform brightness, pleasing to the eyes.
This diagram below demonstrates how the SkyDome efficiently admits, re-directs and disperses light.


At the end of the day, it’s a poor investment if your skylight doesn’t improve the lighting of your building. Typical skylights suffer from low light output, especially in low-sun conditions. With a three step process of admission, redirection and dispersion, the Whole Sky Dome harvests maximum light from sunrise to sunset, regardless of the angle of the sun. This system draws and uses virtually every ray of warm colored light to illuminate the building below.

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11 Mount Vernon Avenue
Mount Vernon, OH 43050 
1-800-886-8847 (U.S.A Only)



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