Bright sun and abundant green – is that what comes to mind when you think of summer? The season of sunny skies and green outdoors has arrived. Why not take advantage of warm weather sun to “green” your home with improvements that deliver environmental, economic, emotional and physical health benefits?
Solar power has been called the only truly clean energy because using it emits no greenhouse gases. Modern technology has made it easier than ever to harness the power of the sun for your home – and without the need for the big, unattractive solar panels that symbolized the solar power of bygone eras.
You can use the power of the sun to create a bright, welcoming environment in your home – and save on energy bills at the same time. By installing EnergyStar-qualified skylights, you can brighten your home with light from above, even on cloudy days when natural light can reduce your need for electric lights.
And on sunny days, advanced double-pane LoE3 insulated glass in the newest no-leak skylights reduces heat gain by 64 percent compared to ordinary glass and by 35 percent compared to earlier LoE2 glass, providing more daylight and better heat control for year-round comfort and energy savings. Enhance your skylights with blinds or shades for even more control of natural light entering your home. And the accessories, as well as the units themselves, can be operated by remote control.
Skylights can also provide passive ventilation for your home; other forms, such as exhaust fans, require electricity to vent stale inside air. The natural chimney effect of modern no-leak skylights vents volatile organic compounds (VOCs), humidity, odors and stale air from the home while allowing fresh air back in. On rainy days, an automatic sensor will close the venting skylight when the rain starts falling. These units also provide privacy, especially in baths and bedrooms.
You can even bring the power of the sun into rooms without direct roof access through sun tunnel tubular skylights. A new flat-glass style provides the advantages of a sun tunnel, but replaces the dome-like roof profile with a sleek, low-profile roof glass.
“Modern skylights can be installed in as little time as a day by a trained professional,” says Ross Vandermark, national product manager of skylight manufacturer Velux. “Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, creating a natural light-filled environment, but they’re also environmentally friendly in many ways. If you’re having trouble envisioning a skylight in your home, the Velux Skylight Planner app can help you visualize how the improvement will look.” You can download the free iPhone app from iTunes or the Android version from the Android Marketplace.
Energy-efficient water heating
Just as the sun warms a swimming pool in summer, you can draw on its power to heat water for your home use. Low-profile rooftop solar panels and the EnergyStar-qualified Velux solar water heating system use the sun’s energy to heat water and help trim your water-heating bill.
Solar water heating also directly benefits the environment. A solar water heating system can help lower your family’s carbon footprint by reducing power usage without any greenhouse gas emission. Using solar thermal power to heat water not only lowers the cost of heating water, it can also reduce the high nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions that frequent burner startups cause.
To learn more about sustainable living and the green benefits of skylights all year round, visit veluxusa.com. For additional information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit energystar.gov, nfrc.org or efficientwindows.org.