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Choosing the Right Roof Light for your Designs; 5 Top Tips

Roof lights are the perfect way to introduce natural light into areas where traditional windows cannot be installed. They can make residential and commercial buildings feel brighter and more spacious and welcoming, in fact, roof lights can provide up to 40% more light than ordinary windows. Research by Swiss scientist Mirjam Müench reveals that workers in naturally lit environments are significantly more productive than those in artificially lit offices. With so many benefits, it’s important to fit the correct roof light and match its properties to the building and the needs of the occupants inside. Here are five factors to consider when specifying roof lights.

1.       Location

The positioning of your roof light is a crucial aspect to consider before installing any roof light. Whether the building is north, east, south or west facing will have an effect on how much sunlight the building is exposed to and how much of a greenhouse effect the roof light is likely to have on the building below.

The location of the roof light will all depend on the needs of the building’s occupants, energy efficiency and the material of the roof light, all considerations that will be outlined below.

2.       Shape

The shape and size of the roof light will all depend on the building and the purpose of the design. Pyramid skylights are architecturally engineered to maximise the amount of light that’s allowed to filter through helping to create a brighter, lighter interior and create the illusion of space in the building below. The shape of the roof light will also depend on permissions and design on the building too. Traditional flat, fixed roof lights also allow huge levels of natural light in and can have a much more subtle effect.

3.       Thermal efficiency/ UV protection

Although natural light has many benefits for residential and commercial properties, you must also consider energy efficiency and exposure to UV light. Without the correct glazing specification in place, the roof light could create a greenhouse effect within the building making it far too warm for it to be occupied during the summer months. You should also bear in mind the heat retaining properties of any glazing materials you use to prevent unnecessary heat loss and keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer.

No matter where the roof light is located, UV protection for both the construction itself and the occupants inside will need to be considered. UV rays can cause gradual deterioration of the structure and cause leaks and damage further down the line. At Xtralite, our glazing materials have been designed to withstand high levels of UV rays and maintain their structure and strength over a long period of time.

4.       Materials

The glazing material you use within your designs will depend on the functions and purpose of the roof light. Whilst the primary function of all Xtralite materials is to allow natural light in, we also ensure that our materials are durable and meet the regulatory standards for thermal, fire and safety performance (link: http://www.xtralite.co.uk/technical/). Think about the year-round comfort of the occupants in the building below to help choose the correct materials.

5.       Standards and Regulations

Ensuring that your roof lights meet current standards and regulations is essential. Xtralite recently added our full range of products to the national BIM (Building Information Modelling) library to help you specify roof lights that meet current regulations. It helps us to provide architects with much greater flexibility and efficiency when specifying roof lights.

There are many factors to consider when specifying roof lights for any project and, by providing adequate information and advice, we want to help you make sure the process runs smoothly and successfully. If you’d like more advice on specifying the correct roof light, take a look at our full technical library to make sure you specify the right materials and meet standards for every project.