Longmont Roofing: Article About Skylight Energy Performance Ratings
When it comes to energy performance, skylights are perhaps the most important part of a roof because they allow light and heat to pass through by the processes of conduction, transmittance and air leakage. Several government and nonprofit agencies make it a point to find the most efficient windows and skylights so that homeowners can follow a standard set of measurements when shopping for new fenestration. A factory trained Longmont roofing contractor can always help homeowners choose the best skylights based on energy performance ratings and factors such as size, placement and materials.
The Environmental Protection Agency created the Energy Star program to recommend energy efficient consumer electronics, home appliances and building materials. Energy Star labels these goods with the appropriate ratings, such as BTU per cubic foot for air conditioners and solar heat gain coefficient, or SHGC, for windows. The agency doesn't always directly perform testing on these products; the information on its labels for windows and skylights comes from independent testing conducted by the National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC.
The NFRC is a nonprofit organization that rates windows, doors and skylights for properties such as visible light transmittance, emissivity, heat conduction, air leakage and solar heat gain. This standardized rating system makes shopping for skylights easy although there are other factors to consider, such as the size of the room below the skylights and the number of windows in the room.
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The U.S. Department of Energy recommends choosing skylights that are no larger than 5 percent of the floor area of the room below when it already has many windows and no larger than 15 percent of its floor area when it has few windows.
These size constraints optimize the conduction, emissivity and transmittance of skylights so that they provide the most daylight while reducing heating bills in winter or cooling bills in summer. In areas where heating bills are higher than cooling bills, it's good to choose south facing skylights to provide the most light and solar heat gain while the sun is out. In warmer climates, north facing skylights are better because they allow in the most daylight while minimizing heat gain.
The NFRC and Energy Star also provide air leakage ratings for skylights because even when properly installed, windows, doors and skylights allow some air to pass through. For proper energy performance, it's critical that factory trained roofers are hired to install skylights; an improper installation could make the air leakage rating meaningless. Correct installation should reduce utility bills and make living spaces more comfortable.