Natural light has long been a popular design element in modern day homes. Skylights can provide your home with the warmth and brightness of natural daylight, cut down on the need for artificial light and brighten dark corners.

Studies have shown that when people work in areas of natural light they are happier, healthier and more productive. Natural light lifts spirits, makes spaces appear larger and lessens demands on electricity, an important factor in today’s energy conscious world. In the workplace natural light reduces eye strain, increases productivity and even decreases absenteeism. People seem to function much better in a light filled environment.

Windows are an obvious source of natural light but skylights can also be utilized to bring natural light into a space. Strategic placement of skylights can enliven your home dramatically by bringing natural light into an area that would otherwise be dim or dark without light fixtures.

Over the years skylights have evolved into durable energy efficient light sources with countless options available. Lowe E and argon gas filled sealed units are more energy efficient and block out noise, drafts and extreme weather. Options available include skylights that open by remote control to provide ventilation and rain sensors that will automatically close when it starts to rain. Remote controlled blinds are also available to control the amount of natural light let in. Integral flashing systems ensure that there will be no water penetration.

The old design acrylic dome skylights that were tarred into place were a constant source of concern. They required regular maintenance and often started to leak after a few years. The new generation skylights have an integral flashing system that, when installed properly, will provide a watertight seal that does not rely on sealants that can break down over time.

The placement of skylights within a home not only brings in natural light but can produce a dramatic design element in a home. For example, when installed in banks of multiple units you can give the illusion of bringing the outdoors in. Skylights give the impression of more space and can completely change the feel and ambience of a room.

Skylights can be installed on any type of roof whether it is flat or sloped. In the case of a flat roof a skylight is installed on a curb to raise it above the roofing membrane and ensure a weather tight seal.

An alternative to a skylight is a sun tunnel or light tube. They are normally 10 or 14 inches in diameter and capture natural light at the roof and deliver it into the home. They consist of a polished sheet metal tube with a weather proof acrylic globe and mirrored reflector that directs light into the tube. A diffuser at the ceiling level disperses the light into the room.

The advantage of a light tube is that it can be installed into areas such as hallways or small bathrooms where a skylight would not be practical. Light tubes can also be installed in roof areas that have complex valleys and ridges where skylights cannot be utilized. Another advantage of a light tube is that the cost of installation is less than the cost of installing a skylight.

Whether building a new home or renovating an existing one, skylights add an element of comfort and liveability. Skylights allow you to bring a little blue sky into your home during the day and at night they display the majesty of the night sky. Skylights will add to the resale value of your home and are well worth considering during the design process.

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