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Skylights Improve Light, Ventilation and Safety

On The House James and Morris CareyGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

For up to 30 percent more natural light that will both brighten your home and your life, think skylights. Today more than ever, skylights of all shapes, types and sizes are being included in planning for both residential remodeling and new home construction. Skylights are now a serious consideration for virtually any room in the home and are even being used to enhance and brighten many other adjacent structures, including garages, workshops and barns. But while skylights are a desirable amenity in all areas of the home, they are particularly popular in bathrooms and kitchens. In a recent industry survey, American homeowners said if they had a choice of accessories for the ultimate dream bathroom, the No. 1 option would be “a skylight to bathe the room with more natural light.” Skylights can be traced back to ancient architects including those who devised openings and shafts hundreds of feet long to channel natural light deep into the inner chambers of the great pyramids of Egypt. Centuries later, skylights took hold in major cities throughout Europe when they were introduced and perfected as a make-sense means to successfully light and ventilate from overhead tightly grouped homes and apartments in densely populated urban areas. Ironically, skylights are only a relatively new phenomenon for homeowners in the United States, although for the last 25 or 30 years their popularity has soared, year after year. Today, in many homes skylights are no longer only an option: They are standard equipment, even in many production-built homes. The reasons behind the increasing demand for skylights and their surge in popularity and usage are twofold: • 1. Leading manufacturers have put to rest conclusively the No. 1 fear and question expressed by homeowners: “Will it leak?” Today’s skylights are engineered and manufactured to the highest standards. They are paired with watertight flashing systems, which are custom-tailored and designed specifically for various roofing materials (shingles, tile or metal) from leading manufacturers. With proper installation, high-quality products are impervious to leaks. Extensive and rigorous air, water and pressure-testing performed before the products are brought to market ensures that they are 100 percent watertight when correctly installed. • 2. Aside from the obvious aesthetic appeal of skylights, study after study also indicates there are many distinct and undeniable health benefits to be gained from bringing in more natural light. These range from psychological benefits, such as reducing the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – which is scientifically and directly linked to insufficient daylight – to improving visibility for the elderly by providing brighter illumination, among many other gains. Simply put, more natural light keeps us feeling bright and offers better sight for all as we age. Summarizing other advantages: • Bringing in more natural daylight also reduces energy bills. Improved lighting increases safety, too. • An operable skylight or “roof window” can improve ventilation by discharging otherwise stagnant air associated with “tight home syndrome.” • A roof window can also prevent mold and mildew associated with excess moisture and condensation from bathing, cooking, clothes washing and other household activities. Government information on window and skylight energy efficiency is available on the Web at: http://www.energystar.gov


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