What Most Commercial Skylight Manufacturers Won't Tell You
By Torrin Greathouse | June 11, 2015
No matter what product you are looking to purchase, every manufacturer will tell you that their product is the best choice for you. Manufacturers push the advantages of their products because they want consumers to feel comfortable purchasing it. This can be misleading if the information is not presented in a balanced and objective manner. The price of a commercial skylight investment is high, so it is important for consumers to be aware of the information that manufacturers won’t tell you.
Most websites for commercial skylight systems present their product in an abstract sense. They claim to provide products that use the “most advanced technology” and best materials to provide the best possible product. But unless these claims are shown side-by-side with ratings to prove the product’s efficiency, how can you judge the truth of the claim?
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization which provides standardized ratings about the performance of window and skylight systems. Using the information they provide, you can compare skylights based on their Visible Light Transmittance, values for heat loss and gain, and air leakage. These four facets can help the consumer determine whether a product is as efficient as the manufacturer claims.
Saves Light, Wastes HVAC
Manufacturer tout their system’s ability to reduce lighting energy costs. What many manufacturers leave out of the conversation on their websites is the potential increase in HVAC costs. Because installing skylights requires cutting holes in the roof and ceiling of your building, it creates a way for heat to enter or leave a building’s interior. A U.S. Consumer Energy Center report found that inefficient skylights absorb more than four times the outside heat than windows do, while losing 35-45% as much heat when it is colder outside. Some devices are specially designed to reduce this heat loss and gain, but unless a manufacturer addresses this upfront, it is difficult to judge how their device will help manage this cost.
Many manufacturers do not address the fact that the optimal benefits of skylights can only be achieved when the skylights are installed in a space that is suited for the function and design of the skylight. Tubular skylights can bend to move light around obstructions. However, they require a large percentage of your roof space and are better suited for smaller buildings where the light from their small opening spreads more easily. Similarly, passive skylights are best suited for buildings which do not operate at dawn or dusk, times when these systems struggle to provide adequate light.
At Ciralight, we strive to be as candid as possible with our customers because we believe our product speaks for itself. Ciralight SunTrackers™ combine solar-power and GPS technology to precisely track the sun with a set of mirrors and reflect sunlight into a building for 10.5 hours a day. Our products are installed in large commercial and industrial buildings worldwide, which they are best suited for due to their size, although, we do have a smaller residential design in the works for future release. To learn more about how Ciralight SunTrackers compare to the competition visit our product page or contact our sales team today.
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