Skylight / July 12, 2018 / Odo Vaillancour
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.
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.
Before installing a skylight in your home you need to carefully evaluate what type of skylight will work best for you considering your specific requirements and how to install it in a way that it improves your homes energy efficiency. Its a sensible idea to evaluate the energy performance ratings of skylights based on the climate that you live in and the architectural design of your home. In the U.S. you can find labeled energy-efficient skylights which tell you the minimum energy performance rating criteria by climate. The physical dimensions of the skylight also greatly affect the lux level and temperature of the space it is being used for.