(ARA) – You repainted last year, replaced all the furniture in the fall and just finished recarpeting in that room that needed a little design TLC. But you still haven’t found that final touch to put your room transformation over the top. There’s one more thing you can do, and it’s an improvement that not only makes a big visual impact, but can save energy in your home too: install skylights.
“Skylights speak of drama, yet they’re a surprisingly cost-effective home improvement,” says Ross Vandermark, national product manager of Velux, manufacturers of the “No-Leak Skylight.” “In many instances, installing a skylight will cost you less than buying designer furniture or putting in new carpet. And if natural light is the touch you need to raise your room design to the next level, placing a skylight overhead is more practical and cost effective than trying to add a window to a wall.”
Energy-efficient skylights are appealing home improvements on several levels. First, they create a dramatic impact by opening a room to the sky and admitting ample, healthful natural light. Second, they can impact your home’s energy efficiency by reducing dependency on artificial light sources and providing passive ventilation (if you opt for a venting skylight, which can be a great way to passively move moist air and vapors from inside a kitchen or bath).
Add accessories like manual or solar powered remote-operated blinds, and your skylights further underscore the overall design theme of your room. Blinds are available in a range of colors and patterns to complement virtually any room design, and they enhance the efficiency of the skylights by helping you control the amount of light or heat that enters or leaves your home.
While Energy Star-qualified skylights function like a window to admit light and fresh air, they’re less limiting to your overall design. Typically, skylights get installed on a blank slate – the ceiling – whereas adding a window would mean giving up wall space that you could use for artwork, a wall mural or other design accent.
And long gone are the days when skylights were a design feature limited to placement on the top level of your home. Now, there’s a skylight format that will work in virtually every room of your house.
Traditional skylights can still grace rooms that have direct roof access to the outdoors. But for first-floor rooms or small interior spaces like laundry rooms or closets, tubular models, like Sun Tunnel skylights, can bring natural light into your ground-floor areas.
“Few home improvements marry the dramatic design impact and energy saving boost that you get from adding skylights,” says Vandermark. “When it comes to redesigning a room, they’re truly the touch that elevates the look and feel of your decor.”
You can learn more about window and skylight energy efficiency at www.energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit www.nfrc.org or www.efficientwindows.org.