All about Skylight

On this post, we will talk about the benefits of skylight.

History

Open skylights were used in Ancient Roman architecture, such as the oculus of the Pantheon. Glazed ‘closed’ skylights have been in use since the Industrial Revolution made advances in glass production manufacturing. Mass production units since the mid-20th century have brought skylights to many uses and contexts. Energy conservation has brought new motivation, design innovation, transmission options, and efficiency rating systems for skylights

Description

Skylighting types include roof windows, unit skylights, tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), sloped glazing, and custom skylights. Uses include:

  • daylighting elements used to allow direct and/or indirect sunlight, via toplighting.
  • providing a visual connection to the outdoor environment to interior occupants.
  • sustainable building — passive solar heating, and with operable units; ventilation for passive cooling and fresh air exchange.

Rating systems

NFRC — rating for visible transmittance

U-factor — expresses the heat loss performance of any building assembly.

SHGC—Solar Heat Gain Coefficient — measures the assembly’s transfer of heat from outside to inside that is caused by sunlight.

These properties are labeled in the U.S. as a decimal between zero and one, with lower numbers indicating lower heat transfer rates. Depending on the geographic region, optimal U-factor and SHGC performance will vary. In the sunny southern climate zones, a lower SHGC is more important than lower U-factor. In the cooler northern climate zones, lower U-factor is more important, and higher SHGC can be justified.

In selection of skylights, a balance is sought between low U-factor and optimal SHGC values, while preserving enough daylight supply to minimize artificial light use. Automatic light sensing controls for electric lighting maximize energy savings.

Benefits

A study concluded that students have significantly higher test scores in classrooms that optimize daylighting, than classrooms that do not. Other studies show that daylight positively affects physiological and psychological well-being, which can increase productivity in many contexts, such as sales in retail spaces.

In terms of cost savings, U.S. DOE reported that many commercial buildings can reduce total energy costs by up to one-third through the optimal use of daylighting. The majority of commercial warehouses and ‘big box stores’ built in recent years have used skylights extensively for energy/costs savings.

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