Here comes the sun...

An artistically designed house with suitable decoration and proper furnishing… Stylish sofa sets, an elegant dining table, ornamental chandeliers, attractive urns, candelabras, indoor plants, modular kitchen…

These are stuff dream homes are made of. But, however creatively a house is designed or however tastefully are the interiors done, the ambience of a house gets accentuated only with proper lighting. Natural lighting is that important element that earns a house its glamour quotient.

There was a time when all of us could afford to have spacious houses with large windows that opened out to green gardens and lush lawns.

Unfortunately, such houses are a thing of the past in the cities now where most of us live in cramped spaces where natural lighting is almost a luxury. 

Especially so in Bangalore where people flout building norms almost authoritatively and build their ‘dream homes’ as close to that of their neighbours as possible.
Net result: You open the window and all that you can see is your neighbour’s wall, with no scope for sunlight to stream in.

The situation is worse in small apartment complexes where people are forced to keep the lights on even during the day. With the reality of global warming hitting us hard on our heads, isn’t it about time we learnt to use naturally available resources like sunlight intelligently?

Letting sunlight in...

Welcome to the world of skylights. They are specially designed windows that are built into the roof to provide natural light. These skylights allow sunlight to light up the rooms they are fitted into and are more effective than conventional windows in lighting up the rooms. Available in a variety of sizes and designs, skylights not only give rooms a beautifully natural look but also help house owners save on power bills. The location of skylights plays a major role in its effectiveness. For them to be useful to the hilt, they must be located where sunlight falls directly on them.

If not, the very purpose of such fixtures is lost. A skylight must face the sky directly and not get covered by tall trees and buildings.

If planning on a two-floored building, it is prudent to have skylights fitted into roofs on the top floor, preferably in rooms that lead to the ground floor so that a good amount of natural light can travel to the ground floor too.

In single floor buildings, it is best to have them in areas of common use so that a large fraction of the lighting requirements of a house is effectively met.
However, try not to have skylights in the bedroom as too much of light can be disturbing at times, especially when you want to take a nap during the day.

In different shapes, sizes

Skylights come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials like glass, glass composites, plastic and plastic composites.

High light transmission

Whatever material the skylight is made of, care is taken to ensure that they are treated to reduce light transmission and cooling load, done either by adding dyes that absorb light or by adding a reflective surface.

While the advantages of a glass skylight include durability and high light transmission, on the flip side, is its vulnerability to break and the safety hazard that broken glass poses.
Though glass skylights are made break-resistant by increasing their thickness and by heat-treating them, they prove to be very expensive and also add to their weight.

Plastic skylights lighter

On the other hand, plastic skylights are lighter in weight and do not pose the danger of breakage. But, if you still want to go in for glass skylights, then opt for toughened glass that is shatter-proof.

While each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, it is best to go in for the one that suits the overall design of the house.

One word of caution though: the room where the skylight is fixed may turn too hot in the afternoon, especially during summer. If so, go in for blinds that shut out the heat.

Cross-ventilation vital

Of late, there are varieties of skylights in the market that open up to provide ventilation too. However, care should be taken to ensure that there is cross-ventilation in the room for air circulation.

After all, good ventilation is what lends the house a ‘healthy’ feel.

If you’re left wondering if skylights lead to leaky roofs in the monsoon, banish your fears at once. For, skylights are usually fixed on slopey roofs to facilitate proper drainage of water and their edges are sealed well with silicon to avoid the seepage of rain water.

Popular

It is heartening to note that skylights are fast gaining popularity and are a part of any house plan chalked out by eco-conscious architects.


They are not only safe and natural but add to the overall ambience of the house too. Most of all, they help you contribute your bit to save the environment.

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