Skylight / July 16, 2018 / Baptiste Allain
Skylight windows are a wonderful addition to a home. Theres no doubt about it. But a lot depends on where exactly the house is located. Skylight windows are best suited for cool climates where the rays of the sun are not very harsh. Fortunately many places in the US have just this kind of weather. When used in such places skylight windows become the most important source of solar heating. And even when the sun is wobbly and there is little sunshine entering the room large skylight windows make the room look airy and bright dispelling the gloom. In areas where there is limited light and heat vertical windows are less efficient than large skylights because vertical sunlight is scant.
A skylight is like a window which has been placed in your roof. It has a frame specially designed to withstand rain and prevent leakage from rain and snow. To maximize a skylights use of natural light to illuminate a room or its passive solar heating potential you will want to take into consideration how a skylight is positioned. Facing north your skylight will provide fairly constant illumination but will not provide a lot of heat. Facing east it will provide the maximum amount of light and solar heat gain in the morning. Facing west your skylight provides afternoon sunlight as well as heat gain. A skylight facing south provides the greatest potential for winter passive solar heat gain than any other location but will often allow unwanted heat gain in the summer.
To maximize the energy efficiency of skylight windows you must choose the material carefully. Both glass and plastic skylights have their unique benefits and disadvantages. Glass is more durable but there are limitations in shape. It is also quite expensive. On the other hand plastic is flexible and can easily be bent or stretched to different shapes. It is inexpensive too. But plastic glazing has a tendency to change color after a while. More importantly irregular shapes lead to more heat loss as larger surface areas are exposed. Windows VS Skylights: It is wrong to believe that skylights can replace or take the place of windows.