4 Negative Impacts Outdated Commercial Skylights Have on Your Business
By Torrin Greathouse | December 10, 2015
While there are a lot of false myths about the potential issues with installing modern skylights, these myths are usually founded in actual issues with older, outdated skylight designs. It is important to make sure that your facility is using modern, efficient commercial skylights to avoid suffering the negative effects of using dated technology.
Increased Heat Gain in Summer
Because outdated commercial skylights tend to use a simple design and lack proper insulation, they often contribute to unnecessary heat gain in summer months. Sunlight passes directly into the building and heats the inside air by nearly four times as much heat as vertical windows according to the U.S. Consumer Energy Center. This forces the HVAC system to work overtime to maintain a comfortable interior temperature, which increases your energy costs. When investing in skylights, it is important to ensure they have a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, meaning that they are more efficient at protecting your building from unwanted heat gain.
Greater Heat Loss in Winter
Similarly, poorly insulated skylights can cause a building to lose heat in the winter. Warm air rises and escapes through the gaps in your building envelope, forcing you to run HVAC systems for longer hours to maintain the indoor temperature. In this case, it is important to look for skylights with a low U-Value, which is the measure of how much heat the system allows to escape.
Lack of Weather Resistance
Commercial skylights are invaluable for providing natural lighting even in the winter months. A major issue outdated skylights face is their lack of weatherproofing. Many skylights leak during periods of heavy precipitation, which can trap condensation and create mold in the roof and ceiling structure when the weather warms up. Modern efficient skylights tend to be tested for their ability to resist heavy precipitation, which helps guarantee that your building is protected from costly skylight cleaning and repairs.
Reduced Employee Health and Productivity
While biophilic design is growing in popularity, many people do not realize the positive effect commercial skylights have on humans by maintaining their connection to nature. While there are a slew of benefits to well-integrated daylighting, the inconsistent light intensity and quality provided by outdated skylights can have the opposite effect. Poor light quality has been shown to cause headaches, disrupt circadian rhythms, and reduce productivity. The effects of poor lighting on productivity are so severe that when efficient daylighting is incorporated into a building design it can increase productivity by 6-16%.