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Published: Friday, 1/30/2009

The Door Is Open For Environmentally Friendly Construction

(NAPSI)-Kermit the Frog used to say, "It's not easy being green." But it's getting easier. Environmentally friendly or sustainable construction, a once far-out trend, has moved rapidly into the mainstream.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Green homebuilding movement is defined as one "which applies innovative and environmentally sensitive construction techniques and products to reduce energy and water consumption and improve residential comfort and safety."

One of NAHB's seven categories of Green building is indoor air quality. Residential Systems magazine agrees, and identifies energy efficiency as a "hallmark of the green building movement."

According to Joe Patrick, senior product manager for VELUX America, both indoor air quality and energy efficiency can be enhanced with venting skylights. He says that they admit natural light from above to reduce energy costs and exhaust stale air, while transforming living areas into bright spaces.

"In bathrooms, for instance," Patrick says, "you get privacy, plus the use of wall space where a window isn't necessary, for decorating, storage, or other forms of space utilization. And venting skylights in kitchens release hot air and cooking odors, without the need for a fan, while providing healthful natural light."

30 Percent More Light

Patrick says that skylights admit 30 percent more light than vertical windows in dormers, while providing privacy and the drama of a sky view that can't be achieved with vertical windows. And skylights are available with electrochromic glass that can be darkened or lightened electronically to adjust light and heat gain while still providing the view to the sky.

"And," Patrick says, "skylight glazing technology is among the best in the industry. Quality units employ gas-filled double-pane construction that controls up to 83 percent of the sun's fade-causing rays while resisting condensation."

And They Don't Leak

Patrick adds that modern skylights make one of the biggest fears of homeowners leaks -- a thing of the past. "Quality units offer separate, pre-engineered flashing kits for shingles, tile or metal roofing materials," he says. "When properly installed, they simply don't leak."

Tax credits are available for skylight installations (energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm). For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit nfrc.org or efficientwindows.org.

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