Skylights are a great way to bring natural light into a room and can brighten even the darkest days of winter. However, they can also have a dark side. If you’re not aware of the potential problems that come with incorporating these roof windows into a home, you can end up with high energy bills, rooms that are unusable at certain times of the year, or expensive repairs due to moisture problems.
Advantages of Skylights
- Natural Daylight
One of the primary advantages of traditional skylights is their ability to flood indoor spaces with natural daylight. The strategic placement of skylights in residential or commercial buildings can significantly reduce the need for artificial lighting during daytime hours. This not only creates a more comfortable and inviting environment but also helps to improve the mood of the building’s occupants.
Natural daylight is known to be incredibly important for human health and happiness. It helps us regulate our circadian rhythm, stabilise and improve our mood, as well as providing us many other benefits.
- Aesthetic Appeal
Traditional skylights can enhance the aesthetic appeal of interior spaces. They introduce a unique design element that can transform the atmosphere of a room, making it feel more open, vibrant, and connected to the outdoors. Skylights can be incorporated in various shapes and sizes, offering flexibility in design to suit different architectural styles. Their presence can add character to both modern and traditional spaces, making them an attractive feature for homeowners and designers alike.
Disadvantages of Skylights
Although traditional skylights are undoubtedly impressive features with some great advantages, they also have significant disadvantages and trade-offs. Some of the drawbacks of skylights include:
- Heat-trapping and heat gain in summer
- Heat loss in winter
- UV damage to furniture
- Risk of leaks
Now, let’s examine each of these points.
Too much heat:
Skylights allow heat from the sun to enter the building, which can be an issue during summer and warmer weather. Large skylights can often create rooms that act like greenhouses. Once heat enters the indoor environment it can be very difficult to remove and you may find that you need to use a lot of air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Heat loss in winter:
A skylight can cause significant heat loss during winter because glass surfaces are not as efficient at insulating against the cold as walls, ceilings, or floors. This can lead to warmth escaping from the room through the skylight, making it harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
UV Damage to Furniture:
Natural sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays that can fade and damage furnishings, flooring, artwork, and fabrics over time, requiring additional measures to protect valuable items.
Risk of Leaks
Poor installation or aging materials can lead to water leakage during heavy rain or snow, potentially causing water damage to the interior and necessitating maintenance or repairs.
What is a Smart Alternative to Skylights?
Solar skylights like the Solar Whiz Lights offer a clever and innovative alternative to conventional skylights by harnessing solar energy to provide illumination while minimising energy consumption. Unlike traditional skylights that rely solely on natural light, solar skylights integrate solar technology to enhance their functionality. These skylights consist of photovoltaic panels that capture sunlight and convert it into electricity, which is then used to power built-in LED lighting systems. This unique combination allows for consistent and efficient lighting even during cloudy days or nighttime.
Solar Whiz Lights can be used to mimic the activity of a traditional skylight; brightening and dimming with the available sunlight. This allows you to enjoy the feeling of natural daylighting in your home without the disadvantages discussed above!
The Bottom Line
Although skylights can certainly enhance a home’s ambience by introducing additional natural light, the risks associated with installing them can often outweigh the advantages. Solar Whiz Lights offers a powerful and effective alternative to traditional skylights that aims to provide the feeling of natural daylight and the benefits of a roof window without the drawbacks of poor temperature regulation, UV damage and leaking.