A bright idea for green remodeling: venting skylights

(ARA) – As green building and remodeling practices become standard procedure, the use of more natural light and passive ventilation is here to stay.

Always high on homeowner remodeling wish lists, kitchens and bathrooms are logical candidates for daylighting and ventilation upgrades, according to Joe Patrick, senior product manager with VELUX America. “They, along with laundry rooms, have higher moisture and humidity levels than other areas of the home and are among the most popular locations for venting skylights,” he says. “And more natural light is always welcomed where clothes are being sorted by color.”

Patrick says that Energy Star-qualified skylights are being used to a greater degree in remodeling, as well as in new construction, for these applications that reduce energy bills.

Consumers want their remodeling projects green, according to research by the National Association of Homebuilders. And the U.S. Green Building Council cites a McGraw-Hill study detailing a growing market for green homebuilding and green renovation, even amid a downturn in the housing market. Individual remodelers say that their clients are expressing more interest in options and upgrades that address indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Patrick points out that in addition to transforming living areas into brighter spaces, venting skylights use their natural chimney effect to passively exhaust volatile organic compounds through the natural movement of rising heated air.

“And skylights offer much more privacy than vertical windows without taking up valuable wall space that can be used for decorating or storage, a real benefit in baths and other remodeling applications,” Patrick says.

In areas where traditional skylights aren’t needed or won’t fit, Sun Tunnel tubular skylights can bring passive natural light into hallways, closets, smaller interior baths and other areas of the home. Less expensive in many cases than traditional skylights, they can be used extensively in areas of the home where a view to the outside is not required, but more natural light is desired. Optional light kits turn these units into 24-hour sources of light.

Modern skylights make one of the biggest fears of homeowners, leaks, a thing of the past. “Quality units offer separate, pre-engineered flashing kits for shingles, tile or metal roofing materials,” Patrick says. “They are designed and engineered to prevent leaks over the full life of a roof and, properly installed, simply don’t leak.”

More natural light isn’t the only growing trend in green remodeling. Advances in technology, coupled with rising energy prices, are resulting in more interest in solar water heating systems when green-minded homeowners upgrade, and in new construction. “It’s yet another green use of an unlimited resource, the energy from the sun,” Patrick says.

For free information on the benefits of natural light and skylight selection, or for free house plans incorporating skylights, call (800) 283-2831 or visit veluxusa.com. For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit nfrc.org or efficientwindows.org. For remodeling information visit nahb.org/remodel or greenhomeguide.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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