What is a skylight?

What is a skylight? When inviting natural light and fresh air into a space, a skylight is an optimal solution. Skylights are environmentally-friendly fenestration structures installed on roofs which allow light into a building. They consist of three main components – the top structure (visible on the roof), the ceiling frame and ceiling panel and the connecting duct between the top structure and the ceiling frame. Glass or acrylic is the main materials from which a skylight is manufactured from.

A variety of skylight types are available, the main ones being fixed skylights, ventilating skylights and tubular skylights. Fixed skylights exist simply to allow light into an interior space and can contribute to the aesthetics of a room. Ventilating skylights are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens where they can be opened for fresh air – either by hand, a remote, or an automatic sensor sensitive to temperature. Finally, tubular skylights are small skylights which work well for space-restrictive areas. They incorporate reflective aluminium for maximum light reflection.

When choosing the size of a skylight, it is advisable to not simply go for the biggest skylight to allow the most light in as skylights have much less insulation than roofs. Therefore, it should first be established how much light and heat is desired in an area before a skylight is chosen.

North- facing skylights are good for constant yet cool light, east-facing skylights will transmit the most light and heat in the morning, west-facing skylights will again be ideal for afternoon heat and sunlight whilst South-facing skylights will heat up a space in winter, yet also add warmth in summer. In order to minimize summer heat gain and winter heat loss, various glazing technologies can be incorporated into a skylight. Glass and plastic are mostly used for glazing; however other glazing methods such as heat-absorbing tints, insulated glazing, and low-emissivity (low-e) coatings can also be utilised.

With the above information, hopefully we’ve answered the question, What is a skylight?

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