Remaining committed to delivering the most advanced, energy-efficient daylighting technology on the market, Solatube International Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs), announced it has achieved another daylight-industry first: The ability to daylight an ICC 500 storm shelter and FEMA P-361 safe room using the Solatube SolaMaster 750DS TDD.
After rigorous evaluation by the ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES), The Solatube SolaMaster 750DS TDD (model S750DS-O-DPI-FC CCI-EXX E-L2P) was awarded the first-ever ICC 500 Storm Shelter Listing Report, making it the only rooftop daylighting device in the world compliant for use in horizontal surfaces of tornado or hurricane storm shelters—even in EF 5 and CAT 5 territory.
“We are honored and proud to be able to provide communities with an affordable daylighting solution that delivers high protective effectiveness and pleasing design aesthetics to any facility that a community may depend on to provide safe, sheltering environments,” says Solatube International President Robert E. Westfall Jr.
An increased effort to build more tornado shelters, especially in schools and emergency response facilities, has been a priority in tornado-prone areas since the devastating tornado that hit Jarrell, Texas, in 1997. The ICC 500 ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters provides minimum design and construction requirements for storm shelters, containing basic occupant life safety and health requirements for “these shelters including means of egress, lighting, sanitation, ventilation, fire safety and floor space”.
Additionally, in many cases, these storm shelters serve as dual-use facilities such as gymnasiums, cafeterias, classrooms, senior centers or entire buildings.
“Protection comes first, but it’s also important – especially in schools – to provide a healthy, inspiring environment rather than a windowless, ‘bunker-like’ enclosure,” adds Westfall. “Studies by groups like Heschong Mahone and the University of Oregon have shown that broad-spectrum daylight, when incorporated into learning spaces, can help improve cognitive skills, performance, visibility and mood, reduce the number of absentee days and even reduce microbial communities associated with indoor dust by 50 percent.”
Cost-effective, energy-efficient and eco-friendly, a Solatube TDD harvests daylight at the rooftop, transfers it down a highly reflective tube and distributes it evenly into an interior space through a diffuser at the ceiling — on both sunny and cloudy days — with virtually no maintenance. Solatube is proud to offer the highest Light Transfer Efficiency (LTE), the most consistent Color Temperature Maintenance (CTM) and the best light-to-solar heat gain ratio of any daylighting system on the market.
The first Solatube product was sold in 1991 and today more than 2 million people have improved their homes with Solatube TDDs, and millions more have enjoyed the benefits at department stores, schools, hotels, hospitals, grocery stores, offices and athletic facilities. Well-known Fortune 500 brands have enhanced their customers’ experiences while reducing their corporate energy costs by incorporating Solatube products into their stores, offices and facilities.
Solatube is a Safe Room Component manufacturer as well as a member of the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA).