Lighting Your Home Naturally

I remember as a child the commercial about a popular glass-cleaner encouraging the viewer to “bring all the sun in.”  There is an energizing feeling to have bright, natural daylight pouring into a room.  While dark, quiet spaces may have their place, a well-lit room is an inviting space to work and play.

Studies in the early part of the twentieth century showed that increasing light levels in factories had a positive effect on production, and industrial engineers looked for ways to capitalize on this idea.  As electricity became an increasingly insignificant cost of production, buildings were designed to replace natural light and ventilation with artificial light and air-conditioning.  Over time, we learned that natural light plays a key role in the body’s biological rhythms, immune system and brain chemistry.  Numerous studies have shown that daylight has a positive effect on health, productivity, learning, and general well-being in schools, offices and retail spaces.  So it’s only logical that these same benefits would be experienced at home, too.

While traditional windows are our primary source of natural light, roof windows are becoming increasingly popular as a way to provide additional light into our homes and workplaces.  Skylights were originally designed to make attic spaces more functional, but have become more common in areas where people tend to congregate on a regular basis.  Often this completely eliminates the need for artificial lighting during the day.

In addition to the benefits related to health and well-being, using natural daylight is also an effective strategy for reducing energy use.  Since offices and schools are primarily used during the day, they can save a significant amount of energy by reducing their lighting costs.  In homes, the areas that are frequently used during the day, like the kitchen and family rooms, are ideal for skylights.  You can also earn points for green building certifications by using natural daylight.

Tubular skylights are a simpler and more affordable alternative to full-size skylights.  These units draw in light from a roof-mounted dome.  The light is transmitted down a highly-reflective rigid tube though the attic, and dispersed into the room through a ceiling-mounted diffuser.  These units are great for bathrooms, walk-in closets, hallways and other windowless rooms with roof access.  They can also be used to supplement light in other frequently used spaces, like kitchens or family rooms.

The Velux Sun Tunnel comes in a variety of sizes to fit different spaces and lighting needs, including 10”, 14” & 22” diameters.  Passive light is one of the best lighting methods available because the units are low cost and provide free light during the day.  As a result, these units qualify for the 30% federal tax credit up to $1,500 until the end of this year.

Because skylights and tubular lights naturally have roof penetrations that are subject to the snow, ice, rain and heat, it’s important to buy quality products installed by a reputable dealer. Premier Skylights is a certified Velux installer that can assure your satisfaction for years to come.  They are pleased to offer the Velux No Leak Skylight Guarantee so that homeowners can buy with confidence.

In addition to the interior benefits and energy savings, an attractive skylight can provide additional curb-appeal for your home.  Skylights are common additions to new homes, and are considered very desirable by homebuyers.  Given the tight real estate market, adding a skylight is a great way to make a distinction in your home, and add to the property value.  You’ll love the light they bring to your home, and enjoy the energy savings, too!

This was published in the Going Green section of the September 2010 issue of Spirit Seeker magazine.

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