How can installing skylights or sun tunnels help me stay in my home longer?

As the average age of our nation’s housing stock increases each year, more attention will be paid to remodeling existing homes to accommodate the baby boomers looking to age in place, or remain in their homes.

Adding living quarters to a lower level, along with bathroom and kitchen modifications, are among the most popular upgrades when seniors modify their homes for the long-term. As a part of those projects, older adults often pay particular attention to providing more natural light in those much-used rooms. According to the Center of Design For An Aging Society in Portland, Oregon, older people need more light (about three to five times more than younger people) for both vision and for maintaining health.

One source of both natural light and ventilation often chosen when upgrading is skylights. Joe Patrick, who heads national product management for VELUX America, cites studies conducted in Denmark that show skylights admit 30 percent more light than vertical windows in dormers. “Skylights also offer much more privacy than vertical windows without taking up valuable wall space that can be used for decorating or storage,” Patrick says, “a real benefit as seniors modify their living spaces.”

For many older homeowners, cataracts make the need for more light a necessity, not a luxury. And those with glaucoma are particularly sensitive to glare. Balanced natural lighting from above through skylights and from the sides through windows, combined with artificial lighting when needed, can add to both comfort and safety. And better lighting isn’t the only advantage.

“From an economic standpoint,” Patrick points out, “ENERGY STAR®-qualified venting skylights admit natural light from above and reduce energy costs while transforming living areas into bright, safer spaces. And they provide a dose of the medicine that daylight and fresh air offer,” he says. “It’s also a way to stretch fixed-income dollars,” Patrick says, “with a one-time purchase that pays benefits over time by reducing the need for artificial lighting and cutting energy costs.”

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. Skylight accessories, as well as the units themselves, can be operated by remote control, another convenience for seniors. For skylight selection or installation information visit veluxusa.com. For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit www.energystar.gov.

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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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