What are rooflights?
Rooflights are effectively glass windows in the roof of your property, which allow natural light into the building. We will look at some of the benefits of rooflights and why and where they might be installed.
Where to install rooflights?
You will generally see rooflights in both large commercial properties like warehouses and offices and private residential homes. Where you have a ceiling without a loft space, a rooflight is an option with many different design solutions on the market. See the range from BI Rooflight Solutions.
Why install rooflights?
There are many reasons why progressive designers are incorporating rooflights into both residential and commercial property construction. Examples include:
Rooflights have the same regulations as windows that govern their performance and installation. Rooflights and windows need to meet the same U-values in terms of performance as a standard door or window. Where rooflight design is continually improving U-value, their performance is not as good as a typical value for a roof. Also for consideration to balance the U value compromise is the solar gain (heat you get from the sun) that is amplified though glass – something I’m sure most people notice when they stand in front of a window on a sunny day. This can be particularly powerful on bright days and is the reason greenhouses often feel so warm compared to the outside, despite the lack of a heating system.
Example 1: A Warehouse
Warehouses often require little or no heating, and therefore their roofs are often poorly insulated or not insulated at all. Lighting will be a much more important part of the bill, because large enclosed spaces require a lot of light. Because of the large open space inside, rooflights offer a great way to reduce the amount of daytime artificial light required, and with few downsides in this scenario, warehouses will often have a high proportion of rooflights. It is not uncommon to see 20% of the total roof area covered with them. They are also very cheap to install because in an unheated environment they do not need to be quite as high spec as in other environments.
Example 2 – A 9 to 5 Office
In the average office that operates predominantly in daylight hours, you are going to get a lot of positive solar gain from your rooflights, and during the brighter daylight hours, this is going too far outweigh the losses from the rooflights themselves. While there will be heat loss at night, when there is no solar gain, the office won’t need to be heated at this time. So rooflights are always going to be a net benefit, if you are fortunate enough to have an office that can accommodate them. Light is also at a premium in office spaces, so any way to boost this without adding more artificial light is going to be a bonus.