SKYLIGHTS BLINDS, SHADES AND SHUTTERS
Skylights or ‘roof windows’ as they’re known are by no means a modern invention – in fact, they’ve been in use for centuries. Years and years ago, when houses were built with sloped overhanging roofs to shade spacious, wrap-around balconies, hardly any light would reach the interiors of the houses, so small glass panes were molded into roof tiles to brighten up rooms – picture long tunnels of light with swirling dust motes livening up your senses!. Later, dormer windows were incorporated in attics and upper reaches of ceilings – those dark, low-ceilinged places that had little or no light. Today though, skylights make interesting architectural details in homes and commercial buildings, and also effectively illuminate those awkward, restricted spaces, transforming them into multi-purpose areas.
It’s a documented fact that daylight is infinitely beneficial, so it comes as no surprise that more and more people strive to incorporate skylights into their home improvement projects. With the economy being so bearish, roof windows have become popular because they help maximize the value of every square foot of space, what with folks opting to refurbish rather than up-size, resulting in increasingly used roof windows in loft conversions and extensions.
Industry standards such as the ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ strongly recommend that natural daylight is maximized for the benefit of a building’s occupants and environmental performance, as it reduces the need for electrical light sources. So, the use of skylights in dressing rooms, attics, garages, stairwells and corridors, ill-lit bathrooms, etc. help home and establishment owners pile up credits under the ‘Health’ and ‘Well-being’ category. Modern innovation has seen to extreme ease in their installation, but managing the light that streams through these windows can prove to be problematic. It has been shown that skylights are poor insulators, allowing a lot of the interior heat to escape during winter, while allowing the sun the heat up interiors with uncomfortable warmth in the summer.
Installing double glazed skylights with tints and window films is not enough, most of the time. So what are the options available to maximize and manage natural light? Skylights serve to either light up a space or ventilate it or both. Whatever the purpose may be, window shades and blinds have proven to be wonderfully effective measures in controlling or managing natural light.
Blinds and shades for use on skylights come equipped with side tracks/channels that allow them to be held in place without sagging, as most skylights are fitted at angles. You could decide among control options that are either manual or automatic/motorized – for those hard to reach areas, automated controls make perfect sense! On a warm sunny summer’s day, use light filtering shades or shutters and blinds with automated vanes that will block excessive light and harmful UV rays; on overcast days, retract shades to provide adequate lighting; on a cold winter’s day, adjust skylight shades or blinds to allow the natural sunlight warm up a room! Retract shades or leave shutter or blind vanes in their optimally open position to ventilate rooms through an open skylight. Use these window coverings to provide needful privacy as well.
Take a peek at a few of the options of skylight shading available, in order to help minimize lighting, heating, and cooling costs:
Norman Skylight shutters: this is a product that has just arrived on the market, bringing with it ease of installation with ‘one position perfect fit’ brackets that can be fixed in just a few minutes! It comes with either a manual or automated vane control system. In the latter version, the vanes can be controlled remotely from any location within its given radio frequency. How easy is that? So much more efficient than a wand control, and with prices for motorization hitting rock bottom, I wouldn’t think twice! You can customize them to fit any skylight window style and size. They are available in a variety of whites and natural colors that can be coordinated with all window frames. That apart, they lend endless elegance and value to your interiors.
Cellular Shades for Skylights: cellular shades need no introduction! A pure pleasure to own and used as a decorative interior window accouterments, they offer THE best solution to insulate windows from the elements. Available in single or double-celled layers, they present in some of the most stunning colors possible, in light filtering, room darkening, and blackout fabric options. Look for Graber Skytracks, Bali Skytracks, and Comfortex Soprano, all reputed brands offering the best in terms of quality. Available with telescopic wand control (called Skypole); these shades are easily operated even at great heights.
Aluminum Mini Blinds: these skylight blinds are operational with only vane tilt to adjust lighting or to block light completely. They are available in stock colors of white, beige and black. Excellent for use in offices and corridors, or places that tend to have high humidity, aluminum mini blinds for skylights are made of 8 gauge aluminum and a dual head rail that houses a spring tension system that keeps the vanes from bowing at angles up to 90 degrees.
As skylights are considered ‘passive solar heaters’, it is vital that this source of solar gain is managed to reduce cooling, heating, and lighting bills. In order that your skylights qualify for LEED Certification for Green Design, it is beneficial to have window coverings that is automatically controlled and programmed to close from 11pm to 5am. Over time, even if the initial costs do over-shoot a budget, motorized shading options for skylights will earn you encashable tax credits while efficiently cutting down on power usage by a whopping 30%.So, I would opt for the Norman Skylight Shutters over any other option as these are specially engineered to fit and function with sleek, smooth efficiency. Go for the Green Initiative any day!