Skylights bring natural light into your home and make any room feel more open and spacious. A view of the sky, day or night, is also an uplifting and aesthetic addition to your home. However, like any expanse of glass including a window, skylights can affect energy efficiency and even impact indoor comfort.
Glass transfers heat energy very efficiently. On a hot day, solar heat from the sun is transmitted through a glass skylight, warming the interior of the home and adding to the cooling load your air conditioner has to carry. On a winter night, conversely, heat inside the house radiates through glass into the colder outdoors and your furnace runs longer to compensate, increasing heating costs. This heat loss is more significant with a skylight than a window because heat in a room naturally rises and accumulates at the ceiling, radiating through the glass skylight.
Here are some quick tips to reap the benefits of a skylight and minimize the energy downsides.
- Think about direction. A skylight installed on a north-facing slant of the roof gets more light than heat during most of the day. An east-facing skylight receives morning light and heat, while west-facing skylights get more heat and light in the afternoon. Heat gain issues can be mitigated by shading the roof with deciduous trees that shed their leaves in winter or by utilizing skylight louvers that can be closed at peak hours of solar exposure.
- Check out energy-efficient glass options. Just as is the case with windows, skylights today offer glazing that diminishes heat transfer in and out of the house while still providing acceptable levels of visual light and a clear view of the great outdoors. Some skylights have glass composed of “sandwiched” layers of glass incorporating argon or krypton gas between the layers to reduce heat transfer. Glass with low-emissivity coating is also available to diminish heat gain and loss.
For professional advice about adding a skylight without compromising energy efficiency in the home, contact Powers Heating & Air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.
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