6 reasons to install skylights
Whether it’s a traditional square skylight, a tubular skylight or a plain old roof window, skylights have been around in various styles for many years. Whilst all of these varieties have been created with one purpose – to bring natural light into our homes or offices – not all are created equal.
“Natural light looks better, and feels better,” says Ruth Buckley from Australia’s Solatube. “However, feeling natural sunlight is only one aspect of environmentally friendly home design. Heat gain and loss are equally important, as the energy required to cool and warm homes is typically much greater than the energy used for lighting.”
Considered a world leader in skylight manufacturing for over 20 years, Solatube won the 1994 Design Awards for developing the world’s first tubular skylight. Since then, it has been embraced by architects and designers, both residential and commercial, that are placing a greater emphasis on healthy and energy efficient lighting.
“Instinctively, most of us prefer spending time in naturally lit spaces, but there is a growing list of studies that support this scientifically,” says Ruth. “Offices with natural lighting show higher productivity, schools with natural lighting have happier students. We feel that natural light, efficiently delivered into interiors will play an increasing role in lighting design.”
6 reasons to install skylights in your home or office
Skylights can provide an attractive option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprints along with their household budgets. We look at six ways they enhance your home and your life.
1. Ventilate your roof space
The roof takes the full force of the sun’s energy, trapping heat and increasing the temperature inside your home. This not only puts pressure on air conditioners but can lead to costly repairs and replacements.
“Ultimately, roof ventilation is essential when it comes to extending the life of your roof space, but also the roof itself,” Ruth explains. “In the summer, hot air in the roof space can warp everything from floorboards to roof sheathing – the latter leading to deterioration of roof trusses over time. Even in the winter, an incorrectly ventilated roof space in the colder regions can lead to ice dams that cause wet or damaged insulation and other structural integrity problems.”
A skylight that includes a ventilation system will eliminate these problems by removing excess heat from your home or office, giving you a more comfortable interior while simultaneously lowering energy bills.
2. Lower your energy bills
Solar is a free, renewable resource that never runs out, and will enable you to avoid switching on your electric lights until after the sun has set. With gas and power bills continuing to skyrocket across the country, investing in a system that harnesses natural light is a no-brainer.
“For example, our Smart LED system utilises in-built LED lights, light and motion sensors to reduce lighting costs – and only draw electricity to power these efficient LEDs,” says Ruth. “Our Daylighting Systems do not draw any electricity, effectively saving 100 per cent of the lighting costs where electric lights are used during daylight hours. For night-time hours, our systems have options for regular LED globe fittings, which can use a wide variety of colour temperatures and intensities, as well as solar powered night-light options which do not draw any mains electricity.”
3. Create a sustainable home
Like any window, the right skylight system has the potential to help increase energy efficiency in your home or office (and reduce energy costs), especially when it comes eliminating heat transfer and making the most of passive solar heating.
“Solatube’s Daylighting Systems incorporate a wide variety of technological features, including advanced optical technology in the dome, patented protective coatings on the tubing, and dual lens systems to greatly reduce temperature exchanges between the interior and exterior of the home,” Ruth explains. “We are proud of these completely unique system features and have had both of our 160DS and 290DS systems tested by the National Fenestration Rating Council. Our results were so impressive, our Daylighting Systems were awarded the prestigious Energy Star label in the USA.”
Also, with modern house blocks shrinking, which means homes are being built closer to one another, skylights provide a natural light source without compromising on privacy.
4. Banish bathroom mould
Moist and poorly ventilated bathrooms provide the perfect conditions for mould and mildew to grow. A type of fungus, it spreads via spores and easily grows in damp, dark environments. Left untreated, this can create colonies which lead to allergic reactions and serious health concerns.
“A good roof ventilation system doesn’t just let air out of your home but also promotes circulation of the air inside your home,” says Ruth. “When air is still and warmed by your home’s heating system, pockets of moisture can begin to form – not just in your attic, but in other areas including inside your walls. Moisture build-up can occur rapidly when the outside air is cooler than the air indoors, causing condensation to form along the outer walls and roof, as well as the joists and studs that support them.”
By increasing the circulation of the air inside your home and releasing it of hot, moist air, you deprive mould spores of the elements it needs to grow and spread. Your home is kept drier and healthier, not just in summer, but all year round.
5. Boost wellbeing and workplace productivity
There are numerous studies outlining the detrimental effects that come with too much exposure to artificial light. Everything from deteriorating vision and sleep disorders to low energy levels have been attributed to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) emitted from our televisions, tablets, computer screens, and light bulbs.
“Exposure to natural sunlight, on the other hand, is known to boost mood, overall health, and even workplace productivity,” says Ruth. “Installing a skylight is a great way to increase your exposure to pure, natural light without having to spend more time outdoors.”
6. Harness the sun to use as a night light
Perfect for families with young children and those all too frequent middle-of-the-night wake-up calls, solar electric night lights harvest daylight during the day and then emit a soft ambient light during the night.
“During the day, our Solar Electric Nightlight captures electricity by solar panels inside the Spectralight Infinity Tubes and stores it in two AA NiMH 1500 mAh 1.2V rechargeable batteries, which are commonly available in supermarkets and hardware stores,” Ruth explains. “One full day’s charge will power two LEDs during the night.
So, if you’re an early bird who gets up at the crack of dawn, or a night owl who is always the last to go to bed, solar electric night lights mean you’ll no longer wake up the rest of the household.
5 myths about roof ventilation
If you still believe a skylight will end up being more hassle than it’s worth, Solatube helps separate fact from fiction by busting five common myths about roof ventilation systems. Read them here.