When it comes to remodels and home upgrades, many owners with older houses are looking for ways in which they can update their surroundings. Yes, there’s something to be said for the unique design of many aging homes that boast a certain level of charm; however, one of their largest complaints generally revolves around closed-off floor plans and a general lack of natural light.
If you’re looking for a quick fix to brighten things up, the easiest solution would be to add recessed lights or sconces, or to paint the interior walls in a light color. Still, since natural lighting tends to be a quick mood booster—which has been shown to make people happier and more productive— adding sources of extra daylight can produce some wonderful benefits as well.
Daylighting, as it’s called, is the process of using window placement to maximize the natural light in a space. By making rooms appear larger, it not only reduces electricity bills, but reduces eye strain and boosts energy. However, while a great choice for any dark home, it’s important to remember that there are varying ways to increase natural light which may vary for each particular house.
1.) WINDOWS: It’s not surprising that windows tend to be the most utilized way to allow the flow of natural light into the home, but it’s important to remember that a myriad of different glasses can be used in the process. If glare reduction or privacy is something you’re concerned about, your windows can be tinted or installed with a low-transmittance glass which, even on cloudy days, will still fill your entire room with light.
Another glass option, which should be a consideration if you’re looking to reduce heat flow, is to select low-emissivity windows which are layered with an extremely thin, transparent metal coating. For these types of windows, specifically ones which are rated with the Energy Star logo, homeowners may even be eligible for a government tax credit of up to $500.
2.) SUN TUNNELS: Not to be confused with skylights, sun tunnels are an easy option which has become a popular choice for homeowners looking to attain a brighter atmosphere. In short, they consist of metal tubes which are installed through the ceiling and out the roof, which allows light to flow into the room. With the possibility of installation on different roof pitches, the top part of the tunnel consists of a low profile dome, which allows light to pass without allowing heat in or out.
Much like the different types of energy efficient windows that are perfect for the walls of your home, these may also qualify you for a tax credit; however, it’s important to note that, since sun tunnels do not have shades, they should only be placed in rooms where you always want light to flow in.
3.) SKYLIGHTS: In the past, many homeowners with skylights found out the hard way that leaks were and all-too-common occurrence; however, their production and installation has come a long way. With leak-proof flashing that can now fit any type of roof pitch, homeowners also have the option of selecting single or double pane glass, which can help reduce heat loss. Additionally, while many people assume that skylights have to be closed off—similar to a picture window—some types can actually be opened to allow ventilation.
While they are usually made in either plastic or glass, most of the plastic options tend to become discolored over time, so glass tends to be what most homeowners select. With this, many people have some concern about whether their skylights will hold up in storm conditions; however, the glass is usually tempered for impact resistance, and in an effort to avoid an abundance of heat transference in the summer, window placement on the south side of the home is generally preferred.
Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | www.cresbuilders.com | 770-983-4698