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Solar Midwest: Dude! That’s so Tubular

By Lavender July 16, 2008

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Home & Yard Blvd. Section
No longer a massively popular way of saying awesome like it was in the ’80s, the term “tubular” now is being applied to an updated way of bringing outdoor lighting inside your home or business. Awesome, right?

Photo Courtesy of Solar Midwest

Solatube, a product of Solar International, Inc., is one such tubular lighting device. The tubes capture and collect light from sunup to sundown, and, using a variety of distinct devices and materials inside the tube, disperse it into a room’s interior.

Plymouth’s Solar Midwest, Inc., a premier dealer and distributor of the device, is one of the top five installers of Solatube lighting in the nation, having put in place more than 30,000 units.

While Solar Midwest does much of its business with residential consumers, it is one of the few dealers certified by Solar International, Inc. to do commercial installations, as well.

According to Tom Gilbertson, President of Solar Midwest, Inc., its clientele has shifted over the past few years in conjunction with the ever-growing “green” trend. Currently, 25 percent of business comes from the commercial sector, whereas just two years ago, it about 5 percent.

Gilbertson says, “The ‘green’ build—from what I’ve seen, people were beginning to talk about it in 2001, but not necessarily living by it, but now, it’s one of the primary focuses for people both residential and even more so for commercial.”

Solatubes come in three sizes—10, 14, and 21 inches—with each larger increment offering more light and energy efficiency than the previous one. For example, the 10-inch one provides up to four times the light of a 100-watt bulb, and the 14-inch gives up to eight times more light.

But a reduction in your energy bill from using less electricity is just one of the benefits to installing the tubes.

As Gilbertson explains, “The rooms seem bigger, brighter, and the color rendering is phenomenal. That’s the biggest thing we hear most about. People feel like when they come into their homes, if they’re not familiar with Solatube, they think they left a light on.”

Individuals and businesses utilize Solar Midwest’s services for different reasons.

Homeowners most often feel their homes are too dark and gloomy, and the energy savings benefit is only an added bonus.

Businesses, however, look to Solatubes for the very opposite reason, as Gilbertson points out: “Businesses are coming to us first from an energy-savings standpoint. The tubes block all the UV rays, so there is no heat generation from the Solatube. Commercially, that’s huge, because they won’t have to use as strong an air conditioner to cool the building.”

Overall, Solatubes are an inexpensive way to make a statement, while at the same time bringing some refreshing daylight into a home or business.

“People come to us for a number of reasons, but once they get it, they start putting Solatubes in every room in their house, because of what it does to their home,” Gilbertson remarks.

Solar Midwest, Inc.
12829 Industrial Park Blvd., Plymouth
(763) 557-5702.
www.solarmidwest.com

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