Frequently Asked Questions About Skylights, Sun Tunnels and Roof Windows
Are there any options that allow me to control the amount of light coming through a skylight?
Absolutely! VELUX offers blinds across all traditional skylight families: deck mounted, curb mounted, and pan-flashed skylights. These include:
- Blackout blinds: Total blackout plus optimal heat protection.
- Roller blinds: Enjoy the benefits of natural light without glare.
- Venetian blinds: Control the light with style and comfort.
- Solar blinds: Control the light using only the power of the sun.
As a consumer, where can I get more information on VELUX residential skylights, roof windows, and their options?
As a contractor, where can I get more information on VELUX products and their installation?
You can contact Rochester Skylights, and we’ll help you find what you are looking for.
VELUX also has a comprehensive section on their web site about skylights and builders / remodelers.
Can I install a sun tunnel myself? Is it difficult to install?
A homeowner can easily install our tubular skylights in about 2 hours or less. Installation requires basic do-it-yourself skills including using a reciprocating saw. Installation requires no wiring or structural changes to your home. Each kit comes with illustrated step-by-step instructions.
Can the sun tunnel (tubular skylight) be installed in any room?
Do skylights add value to a home?
Well-placed skylights significantly contribute to the amount of light a room and house receive, especially in areas where regular windows or roof windows are impractical or impossible to install. Given identical houses and siting, a house with skylights will have significantly more light, especially on cloudy days, than a house without skylights.
In buying a home, people buy space and light. A house with more of both is more likely to appeal to a buyer than a similar house with less space and light.
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.
How bright is the light from a sun tunnel?
The light pipe of tubular skylights has a super-reflective, mirror-like surface that has a reflectivity rate of 98%. Our models reflect light even when the sun’s angle is low in the early morning or late afternoon.
Our tubular skylights (VELUX Sun Tunnels) output the equivalent of 300 – 1,450 watts of of incandescent light depending on the model size:
10″ tubular skylight = up to 150 sq. ft. (equivalent of up to 300 watts) with a maximum length of 18 feet
13″ tubular skylight = up to 300 sq. ft. (equivalent of up to 500 watts)with a maximum length of 20 feet
18″ tubular skylight = up to 500 sq. ft. (equivalent of up to 1,000)with a maximum length of 20 feet
21″ tubular skylight = up to 700 sq. ft. (equivalent of up to 1,450)with a maximum length of 20 feet
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.
What about federal tax credits?
There is a 30% solar tax credit that applies to all qualifying property installed and placed in service, on or between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016.
For more information on which VELUX products qualify, please visit VELUX’s Federal Tax Credits web page.
What can skylight blinds do for my home?
What is a roof window?
A roof window is a unit designed to be installed so that it can be reached for opening or closing. The roof window sash can be pivoted so you can clean the exterior pane of glass from inside the home. Some larger roof window models meet building code requirements for egress (emergency escape). Many times roof windows are installed in attics used as living space.
Skylights, on the other hand, are usually installed out of reach well above floor level. However, there are accessories available for light control with skylights.
What is a sun tunnel?
Sun Tunnel skylights are generally known as tubular skylights and solar tubes. They consist of a long tube from the roof (or other available natural light source) to the ceiling of the room or closet where you want more light.
A tubular skylight is a popular choice for narrow hallways, bathrooms and closets. These skylights tend to resemble conventional light fixtures because of their size and concentrated intensity. A tubular skylight captures sunlight in a tube protruding from the roof. The inside of this tube is covered in a highly reflective metal coating, which sends the light bouncing off the metal and into the small room or hallway that is at the other end of the tube. The sunlight is diffused, which prevents carpeting and furniture from experiencing the sun damage that other skylights can cause.
A sun tunnel efficiently provides pure natural light while effectively minimizing heat gain and heat loss since it is a sealed system.
What is daylighting?
Daylighting is the practice of using natural light to illuminate interior spaces of homes and commercial buildings. Good daylighting creates beautiful, appropriately-lit spaces while saving energy.
For more information, please visit these resources:
What is the difference between roof windows and skylights?
Any glazed assembly that admits natural light through a roof can be called a skylight. Some manufacturers use the term “roof window” to describe a relatively large skylight placed low enough that you can see out to the landscape. Roof windows are generally big enough to qualify as means of egress in case of a fire. That’s seldom if ever the case with a skylight.
What makes VELUX's newest generation of skylights not leak?
In 2010 VELUX introduced their generation deck-mounted skylight, the Series A21 skylight. The No-Leak Skylight has new deck seal technology with a VELUX, 10-year guarantee against leaks. The 10-year leak guarantee from VELUX is subject to the skylight being installed strictly in accordance with VELUX deck-mounted skylight and related flashing installation instructions.
What type of roof can a tubular skylight (sun tunnel) be installed on?
Natural light tubular skylights can be installed virtually on any roof type and slope. Our residential models are available with either a flat roof or a pitched roof flashing. The unique slope of the pitched roof flashing allows for easy installation on all roof pitches without the need for angle adapters in most cases. Our models accommodate all roofing material including composite shingles, wood shakes, tile and clay tiles. For some tile roof installations, a flashing skirt or turret extension may be needed.
Will VELUX skylights heat up my home like my current acrylic domes?
No. All VELUX skylights are Energy Star-rated and meet those guidelines for energy efficiency in all climatic regions of the US. They also have argon gas-filled glazings that block out the majority of the passive infrared heat. New VELUX skylights also include low-E glass that blocks out most of the ultraviolet rays that fades out flooring and fabrics. Most acrylic dome skylights have no protection against heat and fading.