(ARA) - One of today's most popular home design features is more natural light, flooding through windows and dramatically flowing through skylights. And as the green building and remodeling movement gains momentum, energy-efficient venting skylights,that offer no-cost passive ventilation are getting more attention from architects and designers.
"I love the drama of skylights," says Priscilla Ulmann, founder of the New York design firm, Scott-Ulmann, Inc. "There's nothing like walking into a room drenched in natural light with a view of the sky."
According to Joe Patrick, senior product manager with VELUX America, skylights provide 30 percent more light than vertical windows of the same size while creating the drama Ulmann cites. "From a decorating standpoint, skylights don't use wall space, creating an even greater sense of openness while lighting and ventilating homes," Patrick says.
Modern, ENERGY STAR qualified skylights share all the energy-efficient qualities of vertical windows, including double pane construction with argon gas-filled, low-e glass and wooden frames for superior insulation. Additionally, skylights can be opened and closed or lightened and darkened using a remote control. They can even include moisture sensors that close them automatically in case of rain.
With an increasing number of large homes being built on small lots, privacy is becoming more of an issue. "Light from windows is rarely enough, especially in places where lot sizes are small," says Jennifer Powers of Scott-Ulmann. A recent National Home Shopper's Survey conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders supports that observation, finding that 65 percent of homebuyers request skylights in their bathrooms, where privacy is of the utmost importance.
Kitchens are also prime spots for venting skylights. There they utilize their natural chimney effect to exhaust moist, heated air and cooking odors from the home.
For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit www.energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit www.nfrc.org or www.efficientwindows.org. Courtesy of ARAcontent