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Daylighting has been touted for its many aesthetic and health benefits by designers and researchers alike. Scientists at the Lighting Research Center (LRC), in Troy, N.Y., for example, have reported that daylit environments increase occupant productivity and comfort, and provide the mental and visual stimulation necessary to regulate human circadian rhythms.

Utilizing natural light can lead to substantial energy savings. Electric lighting in buildings consumes more than 15 percent of all electricity generated in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Spaces outfitted with daylight-sensing controls can reduce the energy used for electric lighting by 20 percent to 60 percent, according to the studies “Photoelectric Control: The Effectiveness of Techniques to Reduce Switching Frequency” (2001) and “Summertime Performance of an Automated Lighting and Blinds Control System” (2002), both of which are published in the journal Lighting Research & Technology; and “The New York Times Headquarters Daylighting Mockup: Monitored Performance of the Daylighting Control System” (2006), which was published in the journal Energy and Buildings.

By design roof skylights are most often pointed directly at the light source with little diffused or reflected light from ground cover or other buildings meaning that they can let in up to twice the amount of daylight compared to vertical windows and up to three times compared to traditional dormas.

This is particularly evident in deep buildings where façade windows will only ever have limited reach within the interior. It is very common to find that the most central rooms of a house can appear the darkest, especially with the increase in clients adding side extensions to their properties, what they gain in space they can sometimes lose in usable space because the original room is simply too dark and uncomfortable. Glass skylights can be used in your design to effectively combat this.

Skylights are an ideal solution for creating wind driven ventilation within your design and is most effective when the skylight is combined with another opening on a different side of the building. Wind creates a pressure difference and the two openings allowing air to circulate through the building, commonly referred to as ‘cross ventilation’ combined with a 10 foot floor to ceiling height, spaces up to 50 foot deep can be effectively ventilated by using this method.

Skylights can also increase thermal comfort at night by allowing warm air to naturally radiate outside into the cooler evening air. In many domestic applications natural ventilation products such as the operable retracting Skylight here offer a tangible connection with the outdoors and can transform the interior living space at the touch of a button.

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