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Published: Thursday, 6/10/2010

Accessories: What Every Well-Dressed Skylight Is Wearing This Year

(ARA) - In the world of fashion, accessories can make an average outfit look sophisticated and stylish. The same can be said of home fashion, where smart accessories can turn an already great idea into an energy-efficient, eco-conscious home run.

"Long gone are the days when homeowners installed a skylight and couldn't do much more with it than enjoy the natural light it brought into their homes," says Joe Patrick, senior product manager with skylight manufacturer Velux. "Today, skylight accessories can enhance the beauty, function and energy efficiency of virtually any skylight."

Skylights can be installed in nearly any room in the house, and are particularly popular in kitchens and baths where natural light and ventilation is welcome and a window isn't always practical or possible. New technology ensures that skylights are now virtually "leak-proof."

In addition to filling your home with natural light and providing a source of passive natural ventilation, high-quality skylights are Energy Star qualified. Dual pane, argon gas injected, advanced LoE3 glass helps keep heat out in the summer and inside in the winter. The glass also filters ultraviolet sunlight that could fade furnishings inside the home.

Once you've made the decision to install a skylight in your home, here are some accessories every well-dressed skylight -- whether it's vented or fixed -- should sport:

* Blind types now include Venetian blinds, blackout blinds and roller blinds. Depending on what type you choose, you can completely block light entering through the skylight or soften the sunlight entering to a diffused, gentle glow.

* Blinds can be manually controlled, moved with a remote control, or even connected to a home automation system that controls accessories and appliances throughout the house.

* Solar blinds, available for some skylights, can actually qualify you for a 30 percent federal tax credit for the product and installation, with no cap on the credit through 2016. The credit can help you recoup up to 30 percent of the cost of the blinds and the labor to install them. Solar blinds are energy-efficient because they rely on a built-in rechargeable solar battery to power the mechanism that opens and closes the blinds.

* A home automation interface can allow your skylight and blinds to be controlled in concert with other home technologies like heating and air conditioning, lighting, locks and more.

* Advanced radio frequency remote control makes it possible to create a program to control the skylight and blinds automatically, based on the time of day, week or month of the year. This advanced technology provides full control of your skylight and accessories throughout the home.

* Moisture sensors detect precipitation and automatically close a venting skylight when the weather turns wet.

Many of these accessories are available for both venting and fixed skylights. As demand for green building continues to grow, venting skylights are gaining popularity as an energy-efficient way to exhaust hot, stale air and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from homes. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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