The simple answer to a perfectly logical question is that a fixed skylight only allows light into the interior, and a venting skylight opens to allow air circulation as well.
Is one better than the other?
That may be more difficult to answer — it all depends on location, goals and expectations.
Fixed skylights are designed to allow natural light to penetrate into building interiors. Natural light is brighter, more pleasant, “warmer” both in terms of perception and actual heat gain, and more cost-effective than electricity. It is a scientific fact that sunlight provides health advantages and influences mood, happiness and productivity. Think of a fixed skylight as a sort or viewfinder to the world.
Venting skylights, on the other hand, function much like a window operates. Like the sun or moon-roof on an automobile, it will allow hot air to escape, allow for fresh air circulation, and help to control temperatures in moderate climates. Venting skylights are installed on varying roof slopes, and are designed for air circulation, but not for access to the roof. When closed, they are sealed, secure and watertight.
Velux skylights are extremely popular, in both fixed and vented configurations, for both new construction and remodeling. They are manufactured in a wide range of sizes and are available for virtually any application, either installed directly on a roof deck or curb-mounted. Low-profile skylights are as attractive from a home’s exterior as they are from the inside, and are available with a variety of finishes and options to conform to local preferences and architectural styles.
What are the Options?
Manual Venting: Opened with a simple turn of a handle, a manually operated venting skylight is perfect for an upstairs bathroom, located on a sloping ceiling. Installed much like a high window, it not only brings outside light into the room, but also disperses humidity and heat from a steamy environment.
Electrically Controlled: In hard to reach locations, or in homes with high ceilings and multiple skylights, electrical venting controls are efficient and advantageous. Velux controls operate at the touch of a button from an included control pad. These skylights also include a sensor that will close the vent automatically in case of inclement weather.
Solar Venting: Today’s most advanced venting skylight requires no wiring, and uses a remote control to open and close by means of a small built-in solar panel. It also features a built-in rain sensor that will close the vent automatically when necessary. This product is eligible for a federal tax credit, making it very affordable, as well as an extremely attractive option for bringing more light into your life.