Installing rooflights on your building can make dramatic improvements in several key areas, whether it’s simply increasing the amount of natural daylight inside or improving ventilation in kitchens or bathrooms. For larger scale projects its possible to completely open up the entire ceiling of a room allowing a unique connection with the outdoors, or why not go one step further and make use of valuable flat roof space by installing a roof terrace. Access rooflights are ideal for this by providing physical access to the roof terrace itself but also improving natural daylight and ventilation too.
Why do we need natural daylight?
The most obvious reason to install a rooflight is to improve natural daylight in your building,
Natural daylight has been proven to have a positive impact on vision, orientation, productivity, alertness and general health and it has been shown to influence social behaviour and cognitive performance.
Exposure to natural daylight at the right time helps us to regulate our circadian rhythms or body clock, which is governed by the Blue spectrum of light. This allows us to be more productive during the day and sleep better at night.
In a poorly lit room a lack of Blue daylight allows the build up of Melatonin in the blood stream, which is a naturally occurring chemical within the body causing drowsiness and is natures way of preparing us for sleep as darkness begins to fall.
Research has shown that naturally occurring Blue light inhibits the secretion of Melatonin, the problem is that most artificial lighting solutions produce only Red/Orange or Green/Yellow light which does not have the same effect, so in poorly or artificially lit rooms one can often feel more sleepy and less productive.
Environmental effect and financial impact
According to The Carbon Trust, artificial lighting uses some 20% of all the electricity generated in the UK; and over 75% of lighting installations are thought to be out of date and unable to meet current design standards. Reducing the need for artificial light can have obvious positive benefits both in terms of electricity costs and the reduction in carbon emissions.
Benefits of Rooflights
By design rooflights are most often pointed directly at the light source with little diffused or reflected light from ground cover or other buildings meaning that they can let in up to twice the amount of daylight compared to vertical windows and up to three times compared to traditional dormas.
This is particularly evident in deep buildings where façade windows will only ever have limited reach within the interior. It is very common to find that the most central rooms of a house can appear the darkest, especially with the increase in clients adding side extensions to their properties, what they gain in space they can sometimes lose in usable space because the original room is simply too dark and uncomfortable. Rooflights can be used in your design to effectively combat this.
Using rooflights to harness fresh air
Rooflights are an ideal solution for creating wind driven ventilation within your design and is most effective when the rooflight is combined with another opening on a different side of the building.
Wind creates a pressure difference and the two openings allow air to circulate through the building, commonly referred to as ‘cross ventilation’
Combined with a 3m floor to ceiling height, spaces up to 15m deep can be effectively ventilated by using this method.
Rooflights can also increase thermal comfort at night by allowing warm air to naturally radiate outside into the cooler evening air.
There are several ways of doing this, you could opt for a cost effective hinged ventilation unit such as the VisionVent or go for something more ambitious by including a sliding rooflight such as a sliding over fixed or sliding over roof (pictured left).
Rooflights such as this offer complete control over the ventilation in a room but can also add that important wow factor as you press a button and your glass roof begins to retract.
According to research conducted by the Carbon Trust in the case of commercial buildings savings of up to £30,000 a year can be expected when natural ventilation methods are used.
Because no mechanical air conditioning units are installed, on-going maintenance costs can be drastically reduced and there are less hygiene or health problems relating to filters.
In many domestic applications natural ventilation products such as the sliding rooflight here offer a tangible connection with the outdoors and can transform the interior living space at the touch of a button.
More than just a rooflight
Making the most of useable space in your building can yield big rewards, in London the presence of a roof terrace or balcony typically adds 12% to the value of a property, rising to as much as 25% in coveted Chelsea.
Roof terraces and gardens are often more private and less likely to be overlooked – they can offer outstanding views of the city where space is at a premium.
There are several options which will allow access to the roof from simple maintenance hatches such as the Skyhatch, larger hinged access units or sliding glass box rooflights such as the box rooflight featured on this residential property.
These types of unit really are more than just a rooflight and box rooflights are often the preferred option due to the physical structure removing the requirement for balustrades.
Occasionally you may encounter planning issues in some cases relating to potential increase to the building height, particularly where this will exceed any existing balustrading or parapet wall.
This is most likely to restrict the use of box rooflights but other options such as the Skydoor hinged access rooflight are more likely to be accepted as an alternative option due to its lower profile when closed.
Maximise your space with walk on rooflights
Adding space is not always a case of considering access options, even where access is achieved through more traditional methods incorporating roof glazing can open up additional spaces and add value to your property.
In this case a bespoke walk on specification glass rooflight is installed flush with the terrace paving to allow full use of the space whilst at the same time providing natural daylight to the basement room beneath.