What the Department of Energy Says about Skylights and Energy Efficiency

Many people worry about the wisdom of installing a skylight in their home because of the possibility of increased energy costs. However, according the U.S. Department of Energy, “a skylight can provide your home with daylight and ventilation. When properly selected and installed, an energy-efficient skylight can help minimize your heating, cooling, and lighting costs.”

The government’s Website states that in addition to choosing the right kind of skylight, it is important to install it on a side of your roof where the skylight can provide optimal energy efficiency, lighting and ventilation.

Choosing the Skylight

In their article, they give information about how to select a skylight that has high energy-efficiency according to its ENERGY STAR® rating. Also, the size of the skylight you choose can affect not only how much light enters your home, but also how much heat can enter to room in the summer time. They advise that, “the skylight size should never be more than 5% of the floor area in rooms with many windows, and no more than 15% of the room’s total floor area for spaces with few windows.”

Choosing the Location

If you wish you maximize the amount of light or solar heat that enters your home, as makes sense in areas that have long, cold winters and shorter summers, you would want to place your skylight on an East or West-facing side of your roof. East-facing sides get more light and heat in the mornings, and West-facing sides offer more light and heat in the evenings.

For fairly constant light throughout the day, but in the form of more cool illumination, have your skylight placed on the North-facing side of your roof.  South-facing skylights provide the most heat to your home which is great in the winter, but can greatly increase your cooling costs in the summer. A lot of this extra heat can be mitigated if much of the direct sunlight is blocked by trees. In the summers, they will provide a lot of shade, and when their leaves fall in the winter, they will allow direct sunlight into your home.

You can learn more about these and other skylight related topics such as glazing, shapes and moisture build-up by reading the full article here.

Of course, proper installation is key.  As stated by the Department of Energy, “even the most energy-efficient skylight must be properly installed to ensure that it achieves its energy performance, so it’s best to have a professional install your skylight.” If you are looking for a home improvement contractor who is experienced in both roofing and skylight installation, look no further than BHI. Our team of contractors, who have been serving homeowners in the southwestern Chicago suburbs for more than ten years, have extensive experience with skylight installation. We would be happy to meet with you to answer your questions and give you an estimate for the job to be done. Contact us today to learn more.

Image Source: Loft Conversion