April 4, 2017
Velux operable skylights brighten any space large or small, and increase air flow for a healthier living environment.

I am writing this column on the weekend that most of North America is turning clocks forward an hour. Until we adjust, it’s like losing an hour’s sleep, but we gain more daylight at the end of the day. The reverse happens in the fall. This manmade approach to optimizing the amount of natural light we can enjoy as the earth moves around the sun is meant to help our circadian rhythm stay on track. I travel back and forth across the Atlantic on a regular basis, so my body is almost used to switching from awake to sleep hours, but it is still a struggle.

There are countless studies on the importance of daylight in our lives. We have all experienced the negative effects of a lack of daylight, but may feel helpless to improve the situation in our everyday lives. Velux, a leader in the manufacture of roof windows and modular skylights, holds a Daylight Symposium, the purpose of which is to study the effects of daylight on our living conditions at home, at work, at school and at play. They have written a handbook, Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate, DEIC, that is available for free on line through the Velux website, www.velux.com.

There are solutions that we can utilize to expand the amount of indoor daylight we receive. Dark, windowless areas such as staircases, hallways, and bathrooms are greatly improved by installing sun tunnels or skylight tubes. Check out Solatube.com, whose products open up these spaces, and are an excellent solution when no structural changes can be made or when the space between the roof and ceiling is minimal.

Fresh air is an integral element for creating a healthy and comfortable indoor environment. Roof windows that open offer necessary air flow throughout the home. Options for roof windows include styles designed to fit regular slanted rooves, balconies and terraces, and sloping and vertical combinations. The Velux DEIC handbook illustrates how air circulation can be optimized by adding roof windows. And it’s interesting to note that 100% more daylight enters the room through a roof window than a vertical window.

Along with all the plusses associated with the addition of more windows, some form of window covering is needed to diffuse or filter out harmful rays, and to stabilize heat transfer. Hunter Douglas specializes in blinds that both fit and decorate any window size and shape. Their original single- and double-honeycomb Duette shades come in multiple cell sizes, a horizontal or Vertiglide vertical orientation, and a range of light-control options from sheer to opaque.

Velux offers blinds that custom fit their windows, and range from double pleated total room darkening to single pleated Venetian blinds that filter light. With an assortment of 25 colours, these blinds also add a decorative touch to your living space.

When shopping for windows in general and roof windows in particular, be sure to check out the installation requirements and warrantees. Improperly installed roof windows can leak water as well as air, which will cost you. Opening up your home to more light and air is the healthy way to build or renovate. You will be happily surprised at how even a small roof window, properly installed, will light up your life.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s new website, www.debbietravis.com.