Increasingly, new build projects as well as existing buildings are maximising the use of natural light together with the thermal properties of modern glass, to create a revolution in how we look at heat retention and accessing light sources.
A major factor behind recent innovations is the ever-increasing energy costs for both domestic and commercial properties. The earth receives 94 billion megawatts of power absolutely free of charge from the Sun every single day of the year. To not use this and instead replace it with home-grown electricity is largely unnecessary.
The potential ecological waste is only part of the issue. The natural light from the sun is in fact much brighter and cleaner than most sources that we can manufacture. Evidence from the medical and psychological sciences have shown that it can support a positive sense of well-being for people in both home and work settings.
In a working environment, natural light can lead to dramatically increased productivity, and in hospitals there is evidence of faster patient recovery. In educational surroundings, better lighting has been proven to improve student concentration. It also has positive benefits on your health such as providing vitamin D as well as boosting your immunity and mood. There should be no surprise that we all operate with greater potential when we have light on our side.
When you consider the costs involved in paying for artificial light and heat, especially at a time when energy prices are soaring so significantly, rethinking our approach to and reliance on these basic needs makes a lot of sense.
The natural light that we get from the sun is actually made up of two components, direct and diffused; what we normally refer to as daylight. Completely relying on direct sunlight can definitely have its problems, with glare and excessive heat driving people to pull the curtains curtains and blinds, once again resorting to artificial solutions. That’s why we need to focus our efforts on capturing daylight where we can, and using manufactured resources only when compulsory. This will make a significant difference to our energy bills.
With vertical windows only, daylight can rarely reach across the whole room. This is where rooflights can come in to help let more into a space. Options for installing these have increased substantially with improvements in the choices of glazing you have, as well as add-ons such as insect and weather guards. Glass manufacture in particular has improved over the years, with laminated glass now offering strength and security.
Where there is a need for allowing for a decent airflow, the opening option model of rooflight is going to be a better choice. These units incorporate an electronically controlled motor, allowing it to be positioned in previously inaccessible high ceilings and landings without sacrificing the ability of opening and closing it with ease. Having an opening model can also let out excess heat as well as steam or condensation from kitchens and bathrooms.
For true energy efficiency, there are triple glazed Eco-friendly versions which help keep the heat in and let in the necessary additional light in the darker months through Autumn and Winter.
You will also need to carefully consider the location to make the most of the energy saving properties. It is best to position them in rooms that you will be using on a regular basis to maximise the benefits. If you install your rooflight in a north facing roof, you can reduce any excess heat, whereas east facing creates heat in the morning and cooler temperatures in the afternoon and evening. In colder climates, south-facing can provide winter heat, so you will not need to have your central heating quite so high.
Initially, rooflights might seem like an additional expense to you, but it will not take long for you to reap the benefits and savings on energy bills. If you would like some assistance in choosing the right ones for you, why not get in touch with us today or take a look at our Fixed, Opening, Eco, or WalkOn Rooflights pages for more information and to see our stock sizes.
Our Eco triple glazed Krypton filled Roof Light boasts a U value of 0.65 w/m2k.