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  • Writer's pictureFrances Burke

Top 5 Key Considerations for Decision Making

Last week we covered different types of skylights and what they are best used for.

This week we are going to dive into what else we need to take into consideration when

deciding which to use for your project. Beyond merely letting in light, skylights play a

pivotal role in shaping the ambiance, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal of your

space. We have come up with the Top 5 Key Considerations for Decision Making.

1. Understanding Project Requirements

Is there a spec for this project? Is an exact company or product called out? Are they

open to comparable products (especially if it will save them $)? We know every

construction project is unique, and understanding its distinct requirements is

the first step in choosing the right product. Consider the following aspects:

-Space Utilization: Assess how natural light can optimize the functionality of

your space. Whether it's an office, retail store, or warehouse, different areas may

benefit from varying amounts and types of light.

-Building Orientation: Evaluate the direction your building faces and the path of

the sun throughout the day. This will impact the amount and intensity of sunlight

your skylights receive.

-Regulatory Compliance: Be aware of local building codes and regulations

regarding skylights. Compliance ensures safety, energy efficiency, and

adherence to environmental standards.

2. Defining the Desired Aesthetic

I know I am biased since I work in the industry, but skylights really have the ability to

elevate the look of your space! Not to mention, biophilic design is in right now (and here

to stay in my opinion!) and skylights are such a great way to incorporate that into your

design. Consider the following factors when defining the aesthetic of your space:

-Shape and Design: Skylights come in various shapes and designs. Consider

whether a flat, domed, or pyramid-shaped skylight complements the architectural

style of your building.

-Frame Material: The frame material not only affects aesthetics but also

durability and insulation. Options range from traditional aluminum to sleek steel

or even energy-efficient composite materials.

-Glazing Options: Explore different glazing options such as clear, tinted, or

frosted glass. There’s even bright and beautiful colored glazing color options as

seen with Kingspan Light + Air’s Briteway. You really can’t help but be happy in

that kind of bright environment! Each option has unique aesthetic qualities and

influences the amount of light and heat entering the space.

3. Navigating Budget Constraints

The unfortunate but true reality of any project is that there is a budget. While skylights

can add significant value to your space, it is still an added expense. Consider the

following cost-related factors:

-Cost of material and freight: Especially so during the pandemic, we saw how

the prices of metal, wood, freight and so much more absolutely skyrocketed. Now

in 2023, the prices are still high but at least there is some stability. What type of

material used for the skylight and where the product is being manufactured and

shipped from are important to think about.

-Installation Costs: Installation costs can vary based on the complexity of the

installation, the size of the skylight, and the type of roofing material.

-Maintenance Expenses: Different skylight materials and designs have varying

maintenance requirements. Factor in long-term maintenance costs to ensure

they align with your budget.

4. Prioritizing Energy Efficiency + Ecofriendly Goals

Energy efficiency is a critical consideration in modern construction projects and often

can be a requirement! Skylights can contribute significantly to both lighting and thermal

comfort. Here's how to ensure your skylights align with energy efficiency goals:

-Glazing Technologies: Opt for skylights with advanced glazing technologies

that provide insulation, UV protection, and optimal light diffusion.

-Natural Daylight: By utilizing natural daylighting, you are reducing the need for

artificial light. This investment saves energy (and $) in the long run.

-Recyclable Materials: Opt for skylights made from recyclable materials to

reduce the environmental impact. Manufacturers offering eco-friendly options

contribute to sustainable construction practices.

5. Consideration of Maintenance Requirements

Maintenance can be an afterthought but it is important to take it into consideration from

the beginning as it plays a pivotal role in the longevity and performance of your skylight:

-Material Durability: Choose materials that are durable and require minimal

maintenance. Regular inspections for damage, corrosion, or wear are essential

to catch issues early.

-Frame Material: Different frame materials have varying maintenance needs.

Ensure proper coatings and protection to prevent rust or corrosion, especially in

outdoor or high-moisture environments.

-Seals and Flashings: Weather seals and flashings are critical components for

preventing leaks. Regular inspections and prompt replacement of damaged seals

or flashings are crucial for maintenance.

All in all, choosing the right skylight for your next project is a multifaceted decision that

requires careful consideration of project requirements, desired aesthetics, budget

constraints, energy efficiency goals, and consideration of maintenance requirements.

Whether it's transforming workspaces, enhancing retail environments, or optimizing

energy efficiency, the perfect skylight is the beacon that guides your project towards a

brighter, more successful future.

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