Everyone loves skylights. Right? They bring so much light into a room they can turn a Seattle kitchen into a bright and sunny Florida room. Especially at this time of year (in the northern hemisphere), having that extra light can brighten even the darkest days of winter.
But skylights have a dark side, too. If you’re not aware of that when incorporating these roof windows into a home, you can end up with high energy bills, rooms that are unusable at certain times of the year, or expensive repairs due to moisture problems.
Of course, the main benefit of having skylights in a home is all the natural light you get from them. This is mainly for winter because that’s when we have less overall exposure to the natural light our bodies crave. Nobody likes being holed up in a dark, dim, artificially lit cavern on those overcast winter days when the sun sets shortly after it rises. (Well, maybe with the exception of video gamers and college students who are trying to sleep during the day.)
A well-placed skylight or two can make the difference between feeling OK about yourself on those dark days or becoming a psycho killer. (Qu’est-ce que c’est?) For those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and can’t spend time outdoors, being in well-lit interior spaces can make all the difference.
If you live in a cold climate, you can also get some solar heating from a skylight. To do so, you’ll need to make sure that you get one with as high a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) as you can. (The SHGC tells you how much solar heat gain you’ll get from a window or skylight. It’s generally a number less than one, with lower…