Skylights: How One Window Can Transform Your Space

Image of a home's interior with a long skylight on the roof.

Here at Open Architectural Windows and Doors, providing our customers with premium quality windows and doors has always been our top priority. As a result of this, we are always trying to improve the range of products we offer to our customers. Over the years, we have designed custom-made skylight units for some of the many unique projects we worked on. After many requests from architects, contractors, and homeowners, we have decided to make skylights available to all of our customers.

There are many reasons why skylights are beloved by architects and homeowners alike. Not only do skylights receive up to three times more sunlight than windows, skylights can drastically improve the aesthetics of a space, reducing the need for artificial light. Skylights offer views of the sky, impressive both during the day and at night. They completely redefine the aesthetics of a space and contribute positively to the resale value of a property. But, when it comes to skylights, it’s important to choose the right size and style for your home. We’ve put together a short read on how to know what type of skylight would be best for you and your home, as well as some points on why they’re so well-liked.

The Unique Advantages of Skylights

Image of rooftop with multiple skylights

It’s a simple fact that not every room in a house will be designed to receive maximum sunlight. Perhaps your home or apartment is north-facing and receives very little sunlight. Skylights are a great way to add additional light into your home by capitalizing on overhead sunlight. Even if your home does get sunlight, inserting a skylight into the roof of a house can still significantly brighten up any space. 

Skylights come in various shapes and sizes and are available for both pitched and flat roofs. Choosing the right one will depend on your space and how much light you would like to bring in. They’re almost one of the most ‘green’ ways to bring in natural light.

Skylights can be an excellent addition to landmark homes. Because they are governed by stricter guidelines, landmark homes can greatly benefit from skylights which can easily be custom-made to suit any unique property. Skylights can completely re-frame a space and give it a new lease of life.

The standard skylight, which is usually a single-operable window unit, is the kind most commonly seen in houses through the US and Europe. These come in fixed and operable varieties. That being said, skylights can be custom-made to suit your space and needs. For example, Open AWD created this oversized, walkable skylight for a luxury apartment in Tribeca, Manhattan.

Walkable skylights are also popular. They are made out of laminated and tempered glass, meaning that they can withstand considerable weight loads. You can find out more about this and your other options below.

Completely Customizable Skylights

At Open AWD, all of our windows and doors are custom-made to suit our customers’ needs. The same goes for our skylights. Whether it’s to be the extravagant centre-piece of your living room, or simply to brighten up a hallway or a converted attic space, we can provide you with the skylight for your needs.

There is also the option to have manual or remote-controlled, room-darkening or light-filtering blinds available for these types of models. This gives you complete control over how much sunlight can enter the home. Because heat travels upwards, this is perfect in summer, when sometimes you can open a skylight to allow warm heat to escape. With the blinds pulled down, you can minimize excess radiant solar heat entering the home. Low-E (low-emissivity) coatings can be added to the windows to decrease the amount of sunlight and glare that can enter a room. This is particularly helpful during the warmer months. 

Motorized versions of our skylights are also available.

Image of a skylight

The Benefits of Natural Light

rendering of a home with a skylight

There are many known benefits of natural light. The most obvious of these benefits is that you can fill your home with natural light, which has a more pleasant effect than artificial light. Because they are incorporated overhead into the roof of your home, skylights will naturally allow more light into a room throughout the day than standard windows. This is particularly helpful in the colder months, when there is less available light. Skylights help you to maximize any room’s exposure to sunlight.

Another less obvious benefit of increased amounts of natural light is its health benefits. Decreased exposure to natural light corresponds with lower levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies that can be counteracted by getting enough sunlight.

This is particularly important during the winter when it gets dark quicker. Studies have shown that more natural light can increase the amount of serotonin in the body and combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Skylights are another way to bring light into your home and decrease the amount of artificial lighting. 

Energy Costs

Although it may seem negligible, skylights can positively impact your energy costs. Because they face upwards, skylights can get up to three times more direct sunlight than standard windows. The heat which enters a home via its windows and doors is known as solar radiation. It is either transmitted directly and/or absorbed, before being released as heat inside a home. 

Even just one skylight in one of the main rooms of the house–the living room, kitchen, or master bedroom–can almost significantly cut down on the use of artificial lighting in those spaces. This means you can lower the thermostat and enjoy all of the benefits of natural light.

The amount of radiant heat you will need your windows to take in or keep out will largely depend on your house’s relation to the sun. South-facing windows will bring in a lot of sunlight in the winter months, significantly warming up a space. On the other hand, they might take in too much heat during the summer months. In those instances, blinds can be used to reduce the amount of sunlight and heat which enter the home.

Skylight Case Studies

We have fitted several skylights–some of which were walkable skylights–for various high-value projects. Take, for example, The Fitzroy in Manhattan’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood. The development contains fourteen bespoke apartments, for which we designed a series of custom-made, bronze copper-clad windows and doors. For 10 Greene, located in SoHo, we designed a unique, walkable skylight on the roof using tempered and laminated glass. You can see progress pictures of these below.

Skylights which we designed for The Fitzroy in Chelsea, Manhattan. Learn more about the process here.

Two skylights which we designed for 10 Greene in SoHo’s Cast Iron District in Manhattan. Learn more about the process here.

Contact Us Today

If you are interested in learning more about skylights, and which type might be best for your project, contact us today for a free consultation. Call us at 718-403-0300, or email us at info@openawd.com and someone from our team would be happy to discuss this with you.

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