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The Romance of Skylights
With more and more people going 'natural' and looking for elements that bring home the Earth, elements like skylights and solar blinds are becoming very popular. According to interior designer, Joe Hash, "Skylights bring in a lot of drama to the room if they are properly installed. Nothing can beat walking into a room that is drenched in natural sunshine and a clear, blue sky". No wonder architects and designers are turning to skylights in a big way. For the interior decorator, skylights do not use up any extra space though they are able to create a sense of openness and vast spaciousness.
Skylights are a favorite with eco-enthusiasts too because they offer passive ventilation and energy efficient vents for the room. According to experts, skylights have the ability to provide 30% more light when compared to a vertical window of the same size. In fact, skylights with Energy Star ratings are double-paned with wood frames and special glass that provide superior insulation. These skylights have been tested by professionals for maximum energy conservation and can go a long way in keeping utility bills down.
What makes skylights even more attractive is the introduction of modern technology. It is now possible to lighten or darken the skylights or open or close them using remote control. Even moisture sensors may be fitted to skylights which makes it possible to close windows automatically when it rains.
The most commonly used materials for skylights include plastic and glass. Plastic is inexpensive and common but vulnerable to discoloration after a period of time. Glass skylights are more expensive and may shatter on impact but retain their looks even after many years of exposure.
There is only one problem with skylights. The wrong type in the wrong space will simply lead to environmental problems, make the room look ugly and lead to an enormous wastage of money. Windows and the light they give are rarely enough. With homes becoming smaller and lot sizes shrinking more and more, people are hungry for elements that give the illusion of space. So, they install huge skylights. But, in this case, bigger is not always better. In a small room, a large skylight can dominate the design element. It can lead to overheating and bring in too much light. "An overbearing skylight can make you feel almost like living in a stuffy greenhouse", says Amanda Ling, lead designer with a firm in Cincinnati.
The best thing is to consult a professional designer and choose skylights that suit the dimensions of your room. Even if you do not have skylights in your home originally, it is possible to replace windows with skylights, if you feel the need for it. Some of the best places to install skylights include the drawing room, a closed portico and the kitchen. In kitchens and bathrooms, strategically placed skylights have a natural chimney effect throwing out unwanted moisture and vapors.