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Learn All About Skylights

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What is a Skylight?

A skylight is a “roof window” orientated directly toward the sky for the purpose of capturing light. Unlike standard windows that are orientated perpendicular to the ground, skylights look upward and provide an unfettered view of the sky that allows for more consistent light penetration than standard windows.

A Brief History of Skylights

The first skylights were simple openings in the roof that allowed not only light to penetrate, but rain, snow, wind, blowing leaves and everything else. The most famous example of this type of skylight is the oculus in the ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome. Built 2,000 years ago it continues to be the major source of illumination in this astonishing building.

Because of their impracticality (you needed to have granite or marble floors if your roof was open to the elements, and granite or marble were expensive), Pantheon-style skylights fell out of favour when the Roman Empire collapsed and money became tight. But as the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance new techniques in glass manufacturing brought skylights back into vogue. 

For the most part, though, they remained a luxury only the rich could afford. So if you want to find examples of 18th-century glass-enclosed skylights you need to look in places like the Palace of Versailles. That changed, however, with the advent of the industrial revolution when the assembly-line ethos was applied to glass manufacturing, making it affordable to a much wider audience. Suddenly, skylights began to find their way into the homes of the middle class.

Skylights Today

In our energy conservation obsessed world the popularity of skylights has exploded. People no longer see them as something only applicable to ski resorts and manufacturing facilities. Because they open dingy spaces and flood them with light they enable homeowners to reduce their dependence on electric lighting, cut their energy expenses and reduce their carbon footprint.

But the benefits of skylights go beyond that. Skylights that open create outstanding ventilation within a home that can keep it cool in the summer, further reducing energy consumption. Skylights also add to the visual appeal of a home (its “kerb appeal”) and can provide a tidy bump in valuation.   

If you would like to learn more about skylights or would like to have a skylight or skylights installed in your home, get in touch with the team at Rooflights and Roof Lanterns today. We have more than 2 decades of experience with glass and glazing products.

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