Skylight / July 16, 2018 / Baptiste Allain
Skylights let natural light stream into your home bringing warmth and a feeling of spaciousness. When properly selected and used they can reduce your need for electric lighting and minimize your heating and cooling costs. There are also health benefits to this wonderful sunlight that shines on us. If you lack sufficient sunlight on your skin you will suffer health effects. Thats because the human body was designed to be exposed to sunlight on a frequent basis. We evolved after all under the natural sun not under fluorescent lighting. Our environment was one with plentiful sunlight. Skylights can provide up to 30% more natural light than vertical windows while making a small space seem bigger.
For example the optimum slope for a south-facing skylight in Columbus Ohio at 40º North latitude is 45º to 55º. Every skylight has a "shaft" which governs how much light is admitted into the room below. If all four sides are flared then the light is spread over a wide area. If your skylight has a shaft with perpendicular sides the light is focused straight below. If your skylights shaft is flared on only one or two sides then the light is sprayed in the flared direction. Ventilation If you wish you can have a skylight which also provides ventilation as well as light to your room. This allows you to release the hot air which collects at your ceiling.
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.