Do skylights and sun tunnels work with green remodeling?

Green building is by no means confined just to new construction. Consumers also want their remodeling projects green according to research by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Remodelers. “The only way to bring green into 120 million existing households is through remodeling,” past NAHB Remodelers Chair Mike Nagel, CGR, CAPS, a remodeler from Chicago, said in an Association release. And the U.S. Green Building Council cites a McGraw-Hill report that tracked a growing market for green homebuilding and green renovations as far back as 2007.

Many remodelers today say that their clients are expressing even more interest in options and upgrades that address indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Joe Patrick, who heads national product management for VELUX America, says that kitchens and bathrooms, always high on homeowner remodeling lists, are logical candidates for natural lighting and passive ventilation upgrades. “They, along with laundry rooms, have higher moisture and humidity levels than other areas of the home and are among the most popular locations for venting skylights. And more natural light is always welcomed where clothes are being sorted by color,” he says.

Energy-efficient skylights are being utilized to a greater degree in remodeling, as well as in new construction, to provide more natural light and ventilation. Today’s modern skylights are as dependable as top-quality windows and are no longer prone to leaks, a problem often associated with earlier plastic bubble skylights or lesser quality poorly installed glass units.

VELUX offers an ENERGY STAR-qualified product line, marketing it as the No Leak Skylight. These units offer many new energy saving features plus three layers of water protection and are fully warranted. They also carry an industry-first, ten-year installation warranty in addition to product coverage. Homeowners no longer need be concerned about leaking skylights.

The growing availability of trained and certified skylight installation specialists also adds to the dependability of modern skylights.

Today’s skylights contribute to energy efficiency with light and heat control as much as with ventilation by offering easily installed accessories to adjust and control light, as do vertical windows. Venetian blinds are available to adjust light, as are roller blinds to diffuse light and blackout blinds to block light, and the accessories, as well as the units themselves, can be operated by remote control. Solar blinds are also available that qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit (subject to changes in federal regulations).

ENERGY STAR®-qualified skylights, in concert with vertical windows, can cost-effectively provide better natural lighting in all areas of the home, helping to reduce power bills. Venting skylights remove stale, heated air quickly and quietly with no added energy costs. Remodeling dollars spent in kitchens and baths bring the best return on your investment for personal use as well as when you’re ready to sell.

In areas where traditional skylights aren’t needed or won’t fit, VELUX SUN TUNNEL™ skylights can bring passive natural light into hallways, closets, interior baths and other small, as well as larger, areas of the home. Less expensive in many cases than traditional skylights, but also ENERGY STAR™-qualified, they can be installed by a professional or by an experienced DIYer and are used extensively in areas of the home where a view to the outside is not required but more natural light is desired.

Optional light kits turn these units into 24-hour sources of light and some “super-efficient” models meet the federal government’s energy efficiency criteria, qualifying them for federal tax credits of up to 30 percent of the purchase and installation cost (subject to changes in federal regulations).

For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit energystar.gov, and for independent agency information, visit www.nfrc.org or www.efficientwindows.org. For remodeling information, visit www.nahb.org/remodel or www.greenhomeguide.org.

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Rochester Skylights is an authorized dealer of VELUX Skylights, VELUX Sun Tunnel Skylightsand VELUX Roof Windows. VELUX skylights are leak-proofand energy-efficient, brighten almost any space in your home or businessVELUX sun tunnels are tubular skylights specifically designed for bathrooms, closets, hallways, and laundry rooms. VELUX roof windows offer solutions for flat and low-sloped roofs as well as egress applications. Fitch Construction installs VELUX products throughout Western New York including the Rochester, Monroe County, and Finger Lakes regions.

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