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(ARA) – Nothing beats Mother Nature’s gentle touch for providing comforting natural light and healthful passive ventilation in your home.  Modern skylights work with the environment to admit healthful daylight and fresh air, while silently venting stale air.

“Natural ventilation created by venting skylights is much more effective than opening a window,” says John Carmody, director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. “Green building guidelines encourage homeowners to provide more natural ventilation, primarily because it reduces energy consumption,” says Carmody, the author of several books on building design.

The chimney effect created by an open skylight exhausts volatile organic compounds (VOCs) along with humid, moist, stale air while admitting healthful, natural light, explains Joe Patrick, senior product manager with VELUX America. “Homes that can’t ‘breathe’ can be unhealthy, as VOCs can build up in tightly sealed spaces and cause health problems.”

Patrick also points out that while modern skylights allow a home to breathe, they don’t leak. “This was sometimes a problem with early skylights, but quality units, properly installed with matched flashing kits, make that an unnecessary concern,” he says. “They are as dependable and functional as any vertical window or other installation that requires an opening in the sides or roof of the home.”

Kitchens and bathrooms are areas of the home where venting skylights are particularly effective for removing heated, moist air.

Kirsten Ritchie, a civil engineer and regional director for sustainable design for Gensler, a global architectural, design, planning, and consulting firm, says in an article at greenhomeguide.com, that among her favorite innovations or design ideas for a green kitchen are, “lots of operable windows for natural daylight and free ventilation.”

Patrick points out that operable skylights serve the same function and offer as many, if not more, accessories to adjust and control light and ventilation as do vertical windows.  Plus, skylights offer sensors to close them in case of precipitation.

Venetian blinds are available to adjust light, cellular shades to diffuse light, light block shades to block light from the inside, and exterior heat block awnings block heat before it enters the home,” Patrick says. “And ENERGY STAR-qualified skylights with energy efficient, insulated, low-E glazings offer protection against solar heat gain, resist condensation twice as long as clear glass, and protect interiors by reflecting the vast majority of the sun’s fade-causing rays.”

For information on the benefits of natural light and skylight selection, or for free house plans incorporating skylights, call (800) 283-2831 or visit veluxusa.com.  For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency, visit energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit nfrc.org or efficientwindows.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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