The Upsides of Adding a Skylight to Your Home

Adding a well-designed skylight to your home comes with a multitude of perks—not just style and value, but possibly energy savings and health benefits, as well. Here’s a look at some of the rewards skylights can offer:

Letting Natural Light In
It isn’t easy to fill your home with natural lighting. Some rooms have limited (or no) exterior walls for windows. In the rooms that do have windows, you likely use curtains or blinds for privacy. Skylights are an excellent way to bathe your home in sunlight without giving your neighbors a view.

Saving on Heating and Cooling
A poorly planned skylight can wreak havoc on your energy bills, but with proper positioning and design, you can save money on heating and cooling costs. South-facing skylights will increase the temperature of your home year-round because they’ll pick up more of the sun’s rays than a skylight facing in any other direction.

In the winter, you can use this to your advantage—let the sun shine and heat your home so you can shave money off your heating costs. In the summer, however, uncovered skylights can make rooms uncomfortably hot. The solution to this is to choose a skylight design that features built-in shades so you can block the sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. If your skylight opens, that’s a bonus. Heat rises, which means you can open your skylights on summer nights to vent the heat from the day out of your home.

Adding Architectural Interest
Skylights are one of the few home improvements that can upgrade both the interior and the exterior.  As such, it can help make your home more attractive to potential buyers. To get beauty and value from a skylight, however, it needs to be an architectural asset. That means balancing it with your home’s architectural theme and features. In traditional homes, you’re better off installing skylights to the rear of the home or in an area where they’ll be out of sight from the street. This is because skylights have a modern aesthetic that contrasts with traditional styles. Prominent placement may take something away from your home’s traditional charm.

On the inside, make sure the skylight coordinates with the rest of the room. Rather than placing the skylight wherever it’s most convenient to install, align it with a door or a window, or think of another way to place the skylight so that it makes sense from a geometric standpoint. Lastly, ensure that the skylight is large enough to stand out—smaller skylights tend to be more of a distraction than an asset.

Preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder
According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) causes depression, fatigue and irritability. SAD typically occurs during the fall and winter, when you’re not exposed to as much sunlight. This not only throws your natural circadian rhythm out of balance, but also causes a decrease in serotonin and melatonin levels. Skylights, because they add so much natural sunlight to a home, are one of the recommended treatments to help you prevent and recover from this disorder.

Because of these advantages and others, skylights are a worthwhile home improvement to consider.

Source: Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc.

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