Skylights can increase home energy bills by several hundreds of dollars, every year. Skylights can make your home uncomfortable. Don't be fooled by dreams of beautiful views at the top of your rooms.
Skylights are great for daylighting, or for views and natural ventilation. They can bring natural light to dark and unappealing rooms, or be used in sunrooms and garden rooms to generate heat to be channeled to living areas.
But do not forget their possible downsides: they are a common cause of serious problems of glare and ultraviolet radiation, and a cause of overheating and huge heat loss (in cold climates).
Use skylights carefully. Choose the most energy efficient skylights possible to minimize heat loss and unwanted heat gains. And consider sun tube skylights - in a way, they are the most energy efficient skylights.
If you aren’t interested in views or ventilation, sun tunnel skylights are a great alternative to traditional skylights and roof windows. They are the best skylights available from an energy standpoint.
They don't have the disadvantages of deck and curb-mounted skyligths.
Sun Tube Skylights
Traditional plastic skylights are resistant to shattering and cheap; but they tend to discolor and are prone to scratches.
Fortunately, there are now new plastic skylight options for residential applications: the new polycarbonate aerogel skylights. They are not transparent (a possible disadvantage) but they can be very durable, and are cheap and can be more energy-efficient than other types of skylights.
If buying traditional glass skylights consider units with a Solar Heat Gains Coefficient below 0.3; and also - if you live in a cold or temperate climate - skylights with a U-factor coefficient below to 0.3, to reduce heat losses to a minimum.
It may save you thousands of dollars during the lifetime of the skylight. That’s crucial to reduce energy loss and overheating - and for home's comfort.
The flashing system of the skylight is crucial to avoid water condensation problems, or ice damming.
To get a high-performance skylight installation your must seal and install the skylight carefully.
Flashing is important, but so is the underlayment, or a carefull insulation of the light shaft.
Skylight covers and blinds can be very important to control excess light, glare and the unwanted sun's heat coming from the skylights.
They are an important element for home energy savings. They can minimize some of the downsides of skylights.
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One of our videos about Skylights
Other video: Glass Skylights