Are Skylights Energy Inefficient?

Skylights are designed to allow natural light into a building, which can help reduce the need for artificial lighting and create a more pleasant indoor environment. However, older skylights may not have the same energy-efficient features as modern ones.

Here are some reasons why old skylights might be energy inefficient:

  1. Single-pane glazing: Older skylights often have single-pane glass, which is not as effective at insulating and keeping indoor temperatures stable as double-pane or even triple-pane glazing used in newer skylights.
  2. Lack of Low-E coating: Low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings on skylight glass help to reduce the amount of heat transfer through the glass. This coating is commonly found in newer, energy-efficient skylights but may be absent in older models.
  3. Poor sealing and insulation: Over time, the seals around the skylight can deteriorate, leading to air leaks and energy loss. Additionally, insufficient insulation around the skylight frame can allow heat or cold to escape or enter the building, affecting the indoor climate.
  4. Outdated design: Older skylight designs may not take advantage of the latest technological advancements in energy efficiency. Newer skylights are often designed to maximize natural light while minimizing heat gain or loss.
  5. Size and placement: Some older skylights may be larger than necessary, resulting in more heat gain during hot weather or increased heat loss during cold weather. Skylights placed in areas with direct sunlight exposure can also contribute to unwanted heat gain in the building.
  6. Condensation issues: Older skylights may be more prone to condensation buildup, leading to moisture problems and potential mold growth, which can impact indoor air quality.

If you have an older skylight and suspect it may be contributing to energy inefficiency, consider getting an energy audit or consulting with a professional to assess the skylight’s condition and recommend appropriate updates or replacements. Modern energy-efficient skylights often have improved glazing, better insulation, and features like automated shading to control light and heat levels, making them a much better option in terms of energy conservation.

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