Skylight Roof: The Benefits of Using Daylight and Fresh Air

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a modern glass roof on a building

Natural lighting and energy efficiency are coveted features of any home. If you’re building a new home or remodeling, consider installing skylight roof systems. Well-positioned skylights can assist with the creation of an environmental-friendly home. This article discusses the benefits of skylights and how a little daylight and fresh air can transform your household.

What Are Skylight Roof Systems?

The use of skylights is an ancient concept. From the Roman Pantheon to Villum Kann Rasmussen’s first skylight roof window, skylights offer a unique combination of natural lighting, architectural interest, and climate control.

A skylight is glazed primarily with plastic or glass and can be fixed or operable. Plastic is less expensive but very effective when coated with energy-efficient glazings. However, over time plastic skylights may discolor or gain unsightly scratches. Glass is more expensive but offers a scratch-free, clear view of the beautiful outdoors. Tempered glass is also available, for a more durable solution.

There are three types of operable skylights: manual, automatic, and motorized. Manual skylights must be opened with a pole or crank while automatic and motorized can be controlled by a remote or switch. Basic automatic skylights are equipped with moisture sensors and heat sensors to initialize opening and closing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Skylight Roof Systems

a large skylight roof made of glass

Advantages of Skylight Roof Systems

#1. Aesthetic Appeal

A dark home is uninviting, even if clever color schemes are strategically applied. Skylights provide additional, pure light that can enhance any design. This natural light is diffused, reducing glare and eye strain. Natural light can also enhance the color schemes, allowing you to view colors as they were meant to be seen, without the discoloration incandescent or other light fixtures produce.

When choosing the shape and size of your skylights, consider the areas you wish to highlight. You can place skylights near a centerpiece wall, over a kitchen island, or any area where you need accent light. This technique adds depth and highlights architectural features in a unique, natural way.

#2. Psychological Health

Skylight roof systems provide much more than aesthetic appeal. Studies have shown several compelling health benefits directly related to natural lighting. Human psychological health and productivity and nature have a deep connection. One study concluded that office employees with adequate access to daylight displayed 7-12% more productivity than employees based in an office with significantly less daylight.

In addition to productivity, specialists state that natural lighting combats seasonal depression, headaches, and can directly affect the production of serotonin and vitamin D. Believe it or not, natural light from skylights can also help you fall asleep at night. A well-positioned skylight will give you direct access to morning light, a crucial factor in establishing healthy sleep patterns.

#3. Energy Efficiency

Advanced skylight roof systems are created specifically for energy efficiency. Some models contain sun-tracking photocells. These devices control mirrors attached to the skylight, which can compensate for any loss of light throughout the day.

You can also purchase electrochromic glass coatings, which becomes darker as electric currents, controlled by a remote or sensor, pass through it. This tint blocks solar heat, preventing your home from becoming heated.

#4. Ventilation

Each type of operable skylight adds the benefits of additional ventilation. As heat rises, an operable skylight allows it to escape from the home, acting as a passive air conditioner. Skylight roof systems can also assist with improved air quality. In a closed environment, dander, dust mites, and germs float freely. Continuous exposure to these particles can increase the chances of allergic and respiratory reactions. Increased ventilation lowers the population of these particles and gives you a breath of fresh air.

#5. Privacy

In heavily populated areas, individuals often exchange natural light for privacy. Skylight roof systems offer adequate natural lighting for bathrooms and bedrooms without compromising your privacy. If you’re concerned about the man on the moon or high-rise neighbors peeking in, many manufacturers also offer clear and opaque switches that vary privacy settings. You can also purchase motorized blinds. These blinds can also assist with blocking solar heat.

Disadvantages of Skylight Roof Systems

a tall ceiling with a glass roof

#1. Energy Efficiency

This can be a skylight’s greatest benefit or its greatest disadvantage. Skylights with energy-efficient glazings, such as low-emissivity coatings, can reduce your window’s u-factor and prevent solar heat from penetrating your home in the summer months. A double-paneled skylight installed on the south side of the home can provide additional warmth in the winter months. However, if roofers place a skylight on a north or west side, the roof has the potential to bring in too much heat. Likewise, a less expensive single-panel skylight without appropriate glazings will allow solar heat to penetrate the home, causing additional electric bills.

#2. Potential Leakage

A skylight must be water-tight; otherwise, your energy-efficient purchase could cause significant leakage to your roofing and ceiling systems. Hiring a professional to properly design and install your skylight can reduce the chances of this happening.

What to Expect from Skylight Roof Systems

The cost to install skylights varies significantly based on which type you choose, your current roofing material, and the slope and other requirements. Typically, this cost ranges from $500-$3000.

When you consider your skylight roof system, speak with a professional about the slope of your roof to ensure that your home is compatible. Usually, you will need a roof with a slope of at least 15 degrees for a skylight roof system. In addition, double-check your local weather requirements, such as seasonal storm considerations.

Drawing to a Close

A well-positioned skylight can make your home a bright and airy place, improving its aesthetic appeal and your mental health. A double paneled skylight with appropriate coatings can dramatically lower your energy consumption and increase your home’s ventilation and privacy. Whether you own an older home in need of natural light or you’re creating a top-notch green home, skylights can provide a great atmosphere that nothing else can replicate.

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