The Dangers of Investing in Traditional Skylights

By Jeff Brain | January 17, 2017

Skylights have been a prominent feature of our architecture for thousands of years, but  within the last few decades there has been emphasis on refining their designs to be more efficient and cost effective. Traditional skylights are known to be extremely cheap and accessible,  and while this may seem appealing they actually present many issues that more modern skylights do not. Listed below are a few reasons exemplifying how an investment in traditional skylights may not be the best decision for your facility.

High Heat Transference

Traditional skylights are essentially horizontal windows in the roof of a building that are not particularly effective at protecting your building envelope.  These skylights lose 35-45% more heat than standard windows based on the fact that heat rises. Additionally, the light entering the building can heat up spaces, absorbing as much as four times the heat that vertical windows do, which requires HVAC systems to be run for longer hours to ensure a comfortable interior temperature. These issues can be avoided by finding daylighting options which utilize light wells and diffuser lenses to minimize heat transference.

Lack of Weatherproofing

Many traditional skylights are not designed to adequately protect buildings against harsh weather patterns. A majority of these skylights have severe issues with leaking which can lead to an accumulation of  condensation within the body of the skylight. These flat skylights are also susceptible to buildups of snow and ice. This combination can cause severe structural damage that would ultimately require additional expenses.

Insufficient and Inconsistent Light

Lastly, traditional skylights have a passive design that does not provide even, consistent light throughout the day.  They often create glare or light pooling because they simply allow the sun to pass through them, which can harm productivity through repetitive eye strain. This also limits the number of hours of light a system can provide. While passive skylights can only provide light for around 4-6 hours per day, the best modern systems can provide higher quality light for 10.5+ hours per day.

To learn more about the other daylighting options on the market, download our Guide to Selecting the Best Skylight Solution for Commercial Buildings today.

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