Over the past several years skylights have come a long way from their initial conception as a single glass pane on a rooftop. Now, both residential and commercial applications of skylights benefit from recent advances in skylight technology, from new materials to smart home automation software. Commercial skylight contractors, home remodeling contractors, as well as building tenants and homeowners alike now have the opportunity to explore all that modern skylights have to offer.
New materials in skylights
Though in the past skylights may have been considered inefficient in terms of home energy use or sources of pesky condensation “leaks,” the newer materials used in manufacturing skylights have worked to confront and negate these issues. Modern skylights are often composed of argon-insulated double-paned glass, which works to maintain internal building temperatures. Argon is a colorless, odorless, inert gas that is vacuum sealed between panes of glass to create an insulating barrier. In the case of skylights, this structure also helps to minimize condensation as it keeps the colder outdoor air from reacting with the moist, warmer air in contact with the interior surface of the glass, which is what leads to water droplets (condensation) forming on the inside of skylights. Another material in new skylights that works to inhibit condensation is Low-E coatings. Low-E refers to the metal coating that is chemically bonded to skylight glass, which can be reapplied a second or third time resulting in Low-E2 and Low-E3 coatings respectively, and which protects against sharp temperature shifts. Low-E glass coatings work by reflecting heat back to its source, keeping spaces cool in summer and warm in winter.
Automated features of skylights
Modern skylights also boast an impressive array of new automated features ideal for any smart home. On the simpler side of technological advancements, today’s skylights can be operated by remote control in order to open or vent them on command or a preset schedule. This remote control can also be used for reflective blinds on the skylights. In addition, many of these automated venting skylights have moisture sensors which are programmed to close when they sense precipitation and can be powered by solar panels to avoid the need for additional wiring installation to enable remote-control capabilities. On the more sophisticated end of skylight technology, there are solar tracking skylights. These combine solar power and GPS technology to track the sun and reflect its light with an array of mirrors into the building for over ten hours of natural light. Like the work of skilled retaining wall contractors, a commercial skylight contractor who knows their skylights can offer lasting improvements to the way structures work with the natural environment around them.