Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

Solar Powered Attic Fan Installed at Sauser Home

by Brent Sasuer


Eight months ago I called The Solar Guys to install a Solatube daylighting system for our Living Room.  We are so pleased with the results.  Now that we are in the dog days of summer we decided to call Chris at The Solar Guys and invite him to install a 22 watt solar powered attic exhaust fan.  The included photos and video show how quick and easy it was to install.  It all took less than one hour. 


Attics tend to trap heat captured from the roof, which transfers into our living space requiring more energy to cool.  The exhaust fan forces the hot air back out through the roof and helps to neutralize moisture.  The HVAC system doesn’t need to work as hard because the attic heat is being exhausted instead of transferred into the living space.  That means energy and cost savings back to you. 


for more information regarding the Solar Star Attic Fan from The Solar Guys.



Daylighting Comes to the Sauser Home


By Brent Sauser 

Going to GreenBuild 2013 in Philadelphia was a greatDSCN2823 experience.  I got to visit with many manufactures who are already featured on the RESOURCES page of bbs.33941.com.cn.  One exhibit I especially enjoyed was with the Solatube (daylighting) folks.  While there I was DSCN2743reminded of the many advantages of bringing full spectrum sunlight into my home for a great price.  Just DSCN2824think . . . free interior illumination directly from the sun. 

Once I returned to Orlando I called The Solar Guys (authorized installers of Solatube products for Central Florida) to arrange a time to have one installed.  Turns out the only time they had left was Friday the 13th.  Superstitions aside, I booked the date.  DSCN2826

Just look at all that free daylight!

Just look at all that free daylight!

Chris Manotti (The Solar Guys installer) arrived at noon, and after discussing the best location and Solatube type, Chris got right to work at 12:15pm.  I asked him if he wouldn’t mind if I photographed his progress and timed his installation.  He agreed without exception. DSCN2831 

We decided on the 14 inch diameter Solatube 290 DS . . . a good choice considering the size of our living room.  We paid a little extra for the Tier Drop glass lens diffuser.  From start to finish took one hour . . . 60 minutes.  That’s all.  Of course, Chris knew what he was doing, so anyone who might consider installing a Solatube on their own could take most of a full day.  In fact, Chris said he came from one installation DSCN2833and has two more to complete before the end of the day.  

The “after” photos speak for themselves regarding how effective daylight can be to light up a space by the power of the sun.  The following photographs illustrate how easy the installation is.  

Overall I am very pleased with the installation and encourage you to bring the sunlight into your home through the installation of daylighting products like Solatube.  

To learn more about the Solatube 290 DS !

DSCN2840DSCN2843DSCN2846DSCN2853DSCN2854DSCN2870DSCN2855DSCN2858DSCN2860DSCN2864Solatube Cieling LensSolatube Cieling Lens 2

BEFORE (at 8:00 am)





By Brent Sauser

TWO-HOUR FIRE RATED GLASSWAY!  . . . . Look no further than the new San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters to see the first multi-story, two-hour, fire rated glass stairwell.  The two-hour glazing is manufactured by SAFTIFIRST, and the building designed by KMD Architects.  The glass enclosed stairwell is effectively located near the main entrance to enhance daylighting and views.  The structure achieved a LEED Platinum certification.  When is the last time a two-hour emergency stairwell did that for your design?

For additional information regarding two-hour, fire rated glass .

HYBRID SOLAR LIGHTING . . . Daylighting Gone High Tech!

by D. Brent Sauser

HSL 05The US Department of Energy estimates that the energy used to power lighting accounts for 24% of the overall energy demand.  Space heating comes in a distant second at 14% of the overall energy demand.  That’s a lot of energy being used for lighting interior spaces during daylight hours.  With the advancements of solar technology, a major development effort is being focused with the goal of reducing the non-renewable energy demand for lighting needs.  Please refer to the RESOURCES page to reference the several Daylighting manufacturers, as well as previous blogs that have addressed this issue.  In addition to what has been identified, my question to you is:  “What do you know about ?”  The US Department of Energy is developing a fascinating method for harvesting the sunlight with roof-mounted parabolic mirrors and transferring the light (via fiber optic cabling) to various parts of the interior space.  This renewable light can be supplemented with various traditional light sources, if necessary. 

The US Department of Energy describes as follow: 

HSL 01“The hybrid solar lighting system uses a roof-mounted solar collector to concentrate visible sunlight into a bundle of plastic optical fibers.  The optical fibers penetrate the roof and distribute the sunlight to multiple “hybrid” luminaires within the building.  The hybrid luminaires blend the natural light with artificial light (i.e. LED lighting) to maintain a constant level of room lighting. The hybrid solar lighting technology can separate and use different HSL 02portions of sunlight for various applications.  Thus, visible light can be used directly for lighting applications while IR light can be used to produce electricity or generate heat for hot water or space heating.  Hybrid lighting can help conserve electricity in proportion to tHSL 03he amount of sunlight available.”

For more information regarding the benefits of and track the progress of this exciting emerging technology, please .   Never before has the opportunity to achieve Net Zero been so possible!

SOLATUBE Introduces the New Solatube Smart LED System

by D. Brent Sauser

Solatube was at GreenBuild 2012 in November.  I had the opportunity to visit their exhibit and in a previous blog I mentioned the brand new that they were showing off at the convention.  I was very impressed with the simplicity of combining the best features of daylighting with the addition of LED lighting . . . saving up to 94% in lighting energy costs.  But the benefits regarding the do not end there!.  In their official announcement introducing this new product Solatube states:  

 “The harvests daylight during sunlight hours (using the traditional Solatube Daylighting System, and as light levels begin to dim, its “smart” sensors activate the LED lighting.  Serving as an ideal security feature, the LED lighting prevents homes from going completely dark once the sun goes down.” 

 Other benefits of the include:

  • No more changing light bulbs (LED bulbs last an average of 20 years)
  • More daylight, which is free to use, renewable and makes everything look better
  • Cost savings – daylight means not having to turn electric lights on; LED lighting means energy efficiency; up to 94% in lighting energy savings
  • Energy efficiency – using daylight is the ultimate way to go green; LED lighting is a close second
  • Security – knowing lights will be on when you come home or leave town

for more information regarding the Solatube Smart LED System.

for information regarding costs.

Daylighting Considerations

by Brent Sauser

Daylighting, for the most part, is a passive design approach to providing FREE sunlight into a building instead of relying solely on light fixtures.  Successful Net Zero building design must incorporate as many passive design principles as possible, to minimize the “gap” between what passive design can achieve in lowering the overall building heating and cooling loads, and getting all the way down to ZERO power demand from the utility grid.   That “gap” will probably require the use of high-tech products.  High-tech products can be expensive, so it is cost effective to incorporate tried and true passive design features, some of which are older than the Anasazi Indians, who built their homes to be in the shade most of the time, with thick adobe walls and small windows to keep the inside cool in the summer and warm in the winter.   Designing a building with passive features will greatly reduce the size and cost of high-tech products needed to get the overall off site power demand down to ZERO.  Daylighting is an excellent, low cost way to reduce your monthly power bill by using the FREE light of the sun to illuminate your building during daytime.  Besides, isn’t it just common sense?  Why pay for a substitute when you can enjoy the benefits of the real thing . . . for FREE?  I will address the answer to that question in my next blog . . . . Traditional “ROI” is “DOA”.


by Brent Sauser

Unitl recently, daylighting has been provided by passive products, that effectively bring FREE sunlight into the building interiors.  However, sometimes the quality of sunlight would vary with the time of day.  Now, active daylighting products provide a more even level of sunlight over the course of the day by incorporating mirrors in the dome collector that track the arc of the sun via GPS.  Your specific application may only require using passive solar tubes. But when a higher, more consistent quality of light is needed, an active daylighting system will provide the quality of light you are looking for. 

Click on a product below to access the web site. 



by Brent Sauser

Passive daylighting products draw sunlight from the roof mounted collector and with the use of polished mirrors transfers the light to the ceiling of the room where light is needed.  What makes them passive is that the quality of sunlight received is dependent on the time of day, with noon being the brightest light.  In some cases dimmers can be installed to monitor the light intensity.  The following passive daylighting products are excellent choices to help reduce your monthly electric bill. 

  Click on a product below to access the web site.  

Daylighting Saves You Money!

by Brent Sauser

Just think of how much electricity is wasted every day by turning the lights on during the daytime.  I mean . . . the sun is up . . . and our lights are on!  How crazy is that!  Yet, we probably don’t think a thing about it and go on our merry way each day because that is what we have been conditioned to expect.  In fact, you may be thinking that I’m the one who is crazy.  Of course the lights are on!  How would we get our work done otherwise?

Let’s step out of the “always been that way” box and ask ourselves this question; “Is it possible to provide adequate lighting to the interiors of our buildings without turning on the lights?”  Think for a moment of the total number of buildings (all types, varieties, and sizes) that exist in the United States alone.  I would estimate that number to be in the gazillions . . . plus or minus.  Every building, large and small, has multiple light fixtures that serve an indisputable function at night.  But, why are they on during the day time?  There are three possible answers:

  • We simply don’t know any better.
  • The buildings are designed inefficiently and prevent daylight into the interior.
  • We are unaware of the products and technology that exists right now to provide sun light . . . FREE LIGHT . . . into our buildings.

At my age, I get that we are (in general) creatures of habit.  We tend to depend on the “tried and true” to get us through.  However, I also believe that when a better “mousetrap” is presented and understood, great things can happen.  If I was to say to you that your electric bill could be substantially reduced by not having to rely on light fixtures turned on during the daytime . . . that is, real money back in your pocket . . . would this be of interest to you?

Click on the category “Products: Daylighting” for cost effective products that will provide FREE sunlight into the interior of your building.