Shade Your Skylights with Shades, Blinds, and Shutters
Skylights are terrific architectural features of o building used to enhance the infiltration of natural light into homes, in particular. Homes that have sloping roofs with eaves that extend well beyond the boundaries of external walls let very little light in – in such instances, skylights have come to the rescue. In the traditional architecture, roof tiles were made with small panes of glass fitted on, to be strategically used to angle light in. Remember the days when we played hide and seek and ran up rickety old steps to hide in the attic that had light streaming in from just such tile fixtures, dust motes dancing up and down the tunnels of light?
But how do you deal with an SOS call like the following –
“Don’t get me wrong, my skylights are great in beautiful San Diego. But during the summer time it really heats up the house! Do they make shades that can keep out that excess heat from my skylights during the hot months?”
Well, let’s first look at the advantages of having skylights on our roofs –
• Staring at the ceiling doesn’t have to be boring anymore. Skylights provide an excellent view of the tree cover or sky, especially if your regular windows allow only a view of the neighboring buildings.
• They brighten rooms, bringing interior elements to dramatic relief, allowing you to saving on electric lighting without compromising your privacy.
• With skylights to brighten your rooms, east facing rooms do not have to remain dark in the evenings, allowing a boost in décor and spirit. If operable, skylights offer excellent ventilation.
• They contribute mightily to passive solar heating, which more than makes up for the conductive heat loss experienced through skylights.
• They enhance the architectural value of a building. During the recession, many people punched in skylights into their roofs to raise the value of homes for sale.
Having examined the positives, one can’t help but assess the negatives as well –
• Operable skylights tend to create drafts that can lead to discomfort in a room.
• They do have the predilection to leak.
• While they eliminate the need to use electric light during the day, they do let in a lot of unwanted heat during summer, creating unnecessary load on air conditioning. And the reverse is true of winter!
Although the above is certainly true, modern advances have seen to it that the innovative upgrades applied to regular windows are also applicable to skylights. Likewise, some of the window blinds and shades used on regular windows can also be used on skylights to maximize their innate attraction.
Skylights are notorious sources of heat loss, primarily because of its elevation or position on the roof – warm air rises – It’s elementary, Watson! When warm air rises, it comes into contact with the colder skylight glass pane, cooling the air, which then drops to the bottom, and again, forming a convective loop in the indoor air system that can result in an uncomfortable indoor chill. The more horizontally placed the skylight is, the more the chill factor. This supports the statistic that skylights lose 35 – 40% more heat than does a regular vertical window.
As they are positioned on the roof where they can receive the maximum sunlight to brighten up interiors, skylights, the high summer sun can heat up interiors for times as much as a standard window. In fact, experts estimate that a 2-ft by 4-ft skylight made of a single pane of glass will allow enough heat into overwork the air conditioning to a large extent. This reflects the SOS cry for help by the folks in San Diego!
Once the skylights are installed, there’s nothing to do for it but shade them appropriately. Today, window shading enterprises like Graber, Zebrablinds, Crown and Norman offers solutions that minimize both heat loss and gains, allowing you to achieve the ambiance you desired when you had your skylights installed.
Graber’s Cellular SkyTrack Skylight Shades
The cellular shades are known for the stellar insulation they provide due to the air trapped in their honeycomb cells – the larger the cells, the more the air trapped, and the more the cell layers, the more the insulation provided. In addition to the light filtering fabric of polyester point bond, the blackout option they come in provides absolute light annihilation at any part of the day or night (to block flashing neon and streetlights). The CrystalPleat Technology the cellular shades are fabricated with ensures that the integrity of the pleats remains even after years of constant use. The side tracks provided allow the shades to move over the skylights smoothly, and remain firmly in place while preventing the irritating halo effect that could result from gaps that are inevitably present around the frames of regular windows. For very high elevations, Graber very thoughtfully provides Skypoles that aid it their control. Open the shades for an unobstructed view.
Graber Aluminum SkyTrack Skylight Blinds
Another option among skylight shading, the 1” Aluminum Blinds are equipped with incline wires that hold the slats in place and prevents them from bowing. For angles exceeding 45 degrees, use a double head rail system that give the blinds more stability. Though exceeding contemporary in looks and function, these blinds don’t offer much in terms of insulation but are great for daylighting, especially to brighten dark corners. Tilt the vanes with SkyPoles for best results.
Norman Skylight Shutters
The front-runner in the manufacture of innovative window shading products, Norman offers skylight shutters made of advanced polymers, wood composites, and solid wood. Customized to fit practically any skylight shape and size. The shutters are pre-installed with brackets and latches that just need to be snapped into position in a few minutes. And like the aluminum blinds they are a fantastic option to angle light the way you want it; they also provide insulation as wood and polymers are poor conductors.
Crown, in partnership with Somfy, offers the Cellular Shades with automation that makes light control and privacy a child’s play. Safe and convenient, this motorized lift system is enabled with a powerful radio frequency that allows you to operate the individual/grouped shades from a distance of up to 65 ft., without being in the line of vision. The RF motor can be combined with handheld remotes, wireless wall switches and programmable timers, maximizing energy efficiency and home security. Even though when you compare with manual shade, motorized shades are little more expensive but when you compare the convenience and the power saving for cooling in summer and heating in winter, this shades would be a worthwhile investment. Presently most of the motorized shades can be controlled by WiFi network and which would be linked to your home network. This gives you an extra leverage to control the shades with iPad, iPhone or any smartphone.
The Benefits of automated Skylight Shades, Shutters, and Blinds
Skylight shading, like regular window shading, can be equipped with RF motors that are powered by DC, batteries or solar energy. The benefits of motorization are many, but most of all, there’s no need to struggle with wands, SkyPoles and cords to control them. At the touch of an RF remote, the shading will comply with your order. They can also be preprogrammed to open and close at pre-set intervals, creating boundless energy economy.
Whatever your choice, decide on skylight shading options that suit your skylight based on its orientation, and achieve the energy savings and great daylighting.