The Skylight Effect – Applicant submissions (part four)

There is a quote from Thomas Paine regarding education: “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

These days, that enlightenment can come at a pretty hefty price. With the third annual Skylight Effect scholarship we set out to reward a $1000 scholarship to one qualified individual, with a hope that it will ease a financial burden and encourage their continued education.

Let’s take a look at the remaining entries we have not yet featured in our blog.

Angus M.

Angus plans to study environmental design at CU Boulder. College, with post-grad hopes of owning his own design business. Angus says, “I have always been interested in creating spaces for people to congregate in, live in, and explore.”

“I started with a beautiful design I found, that made wonderful use of natural light to make the space seem more open and inviting. I then took that image, and removed the skylights, which made the space look very cramped and much less inviting. The skylight-less image reminds me of what a rainy day looks like, even though the original image was extremely bright and beautiful. The skylights compliment the plants by the windows and the light, elegant design of the chairs. Light from the skylights radiates the feeling of life, as seen through the plants and open design. It also allows all the elements of the room to come together. The design without the skylights shifts the focus to the lamps and artificial lights, when the focus should be in the center of the room (which the skylights highlight). So, the skylights serve two purposes; creating a focal point of a space and letting in beautiful, natural light.”

Sophia N.

As a freshman at the University of Minnesota, Sophia is enrolled at the university’s College of Design, where she is majoring in Graphic Design. career. Sophia adds, “I am also a member of Alpha Rho Chi, a coed professional fraternity for architecture and design students. Through the fraternity, I have toured graphic design firms and networked with many professionals in the field of design. Through my hard work, quality education, and network of professionals, I believe I will become a successful Graphic Designer. My 10-year plan is to transition from the role of Graphic Designer to Art Director,”

Before and after comparison of living space with and without natural daylighting from a skylight.

“I created a rendering based off the living room in my home. The image on the left, titled ‘Before Skylight’ shows the room without a skylight. In contrast, the image on the right, titled ‘After Skylight’ shows the room with a skylight. The rooms are identical except for the structural presence of a skylight. I added tints to each of the hues in the rendering on the ‘After Skylight’ side. Furthermore, I added a slightly transparent light green layer to the walls. Both actions created the illusion of light in a 3D space. Natural light is not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing. The addition of a skylight in a space completely changes it. My rendering displays how a dreary space can be transformed into a beautiful one simply by incorporating a skylight.”

Sophia sums it up perfectly: “The addition of a skylight in a space completely changes it.”

Thank you, Brett, Jessilyn, Kaija, Katherine, Laeana, Megan, Rachel, Jacob, Angus, and Sophia.

Now, we have one tough decision to make!




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The Skylight Effect – Applicant submissions (part three)

Architecture, Interior Design, Art History, Photography, and Graphic Design, just a few of the majors we’ve seen throughout The Skylight Effect Scholarship Contest. No matter their background, no matter their future, our applicants were up to the task of showing the advantages of adding natural light to any room.

Let’s look at a few more entries.

Jessilyn R.

Jessilyn is currently a freshman at the University of Utah, with the goal of earning a major in Operations Management and a minor in Fine Arts by 2020.


As a lover of nature, Jessilyn always tries to catch as much of the sun’s rays as she possibly can. “Some of my favorite memories have been watching the sun peek over the mountains at dawn and glimmer off on my backyard, the Great Salt Lake. life. One of the best feelings is waking up with the sunrise, letting the natural light stir you awake from slumber. The sun reminds me I am alive. The sun livens not just me, but also my plants. My houseplants let me bring the outside in, which is something that is so important to me. Without natural light, my plants would suffer indoors. That is the magic of a skylight: allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate the indoors and give life to the living,” Jessilyn says.


“This original watercolor shows the before and after effects of a skylight. Before, the plants fade away and the room is left with a dismal atmosphere. But with the skylight, the sunrise brightens the room, and allows the flowers to thrive and grow.”

Kaija C.

Cactus Synergy

“This piece is meant to show a cactus located in an indoor-outdoor shopping mall that utilizes skylights in San Luis Obispo. This is the only skylight that has a plant underneath. The first image showcases the cactus growing into the sunlight, it’s feeding off the energy of the sun. The next picture showcases the cactus at night where it is forced to gain its energy from the artificial red light. The cactus waits for the suns arrival which the skylight happily encourages.” -Kaija C.

As a business student at California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, Kaija sometimes feels like most engineering students look down upon her business focused peers. Kaija hopes to prove that business students have so much to offer the university.

“I want to utilize all the resources available to me to get the most out of my college experience. I want to walk across that stage and know that I really got the best college experience possible and that I didn’t waste one second of it.”

Laeana R.

As an aspiring speech language pathologist, Laeana strongly believes in early detection and treatment of communication delays in children.

“Once I become a Hanen-certified speech pathologist, I plan to open a community learning center in NY where families and relevant members of the community will be able to learn specific strategies that support children’s language development,” Laeana says.

Laeana is currently waiting to hear back from grad schools.

A picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. Each entry here has uniquely conveyed the transformative power natural light can have on all of our indoor environments.

Check back tomorrow for the last batch of Skylight Effect Applicants.


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The Skylight Effect – Applicant submissions (part two)

In the same way a room can be transformed by letting light in, so a mind can be opened by the power of education. It was with this sentiment that our 2nd Annual Skylight Effect Scholarship Contest was launched three months ago, the challenge: Establish a contrasting relationship between the quality of a space both with and without a significant level of natural light.

The applicants were exceptional, so exceptional that we decided to feature them here.

Megan P.

Megan has a deep love of learning; moreover, she is adamant in not letting educational opportunities go to waste.

‘A Soothing Change’

Megan titled her entry “A Soothing Change,” about what she describes as “the calming health benefits of natural lights.”

Megan says, “I have always wanted an indoor pool room that incorporates skylights. Thus, I ran with this viewpoint and sketched the two identically sized and shaped rooms. At this point, the two rooms diverged: the room lacking a skylight demonstrated the claustrophobic feel that rooms, with no natural lighting, can create. In contrast, I made my room light, airy, and sunny—basically, I wanted it to be as cheerful a room as possible. This is when I started thinking about how a skylight could influence the styling of the rooms; so, I made the Before Room sparse and cold-looking yet delightfully decorated the After Room. I think the most important aspect of my piece is the reflection.

In the fall, Megan will attend School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she plans on pursuing a career in Art History, Art Education, or Fine Arts, with the goal of becoming an art teacher, museum curator, or full-time artist.

Rachel P.

The Skylight Effect

“lack of natural lighting”


Rachel, though still in high school, has big goals. She says, “As of now, I hope to research ribozymes, or micro-ribonucleic acids, which are molecules that regulate the transcription and translation of DNA, and have properties that are promising in the fight against cancer.”



“In the first drawing, the lack of natural lighting creates shadows under the shelves and cabinets, and especially around the beams of the ceiling. These shadows give the room a dirty and dingy appearance. The second drawing illustrates the same room, with three added skylights. These additions illuminate the room, completely eradicating the dingy atmosphere and replacing it with a pleasantly bright one. With the added light, plants can flourish, and seven potted plants have been added, giving the room a fresh and natural aura. The shadows in the beams have been greatly diminished, and the colors in the design are more vibrant. The paired drawings reveal how effectively skylights can transform dark spaces into open airy ones.”


The Skylight Effect

“pleasantly bright”

After graduating from high school, she hopes to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she will major in molecular biology, with the goal of earning a Ph.D. in 2025.

Jacob J.

Firsthand experience of ‘skylight’ installations is the best evidence, and Jacob J. witnessed The Skylight Effect up close.

The Skylight Effect

“We are overjoyed that [our] cafeteria now benefits from natural light and will rarely use artificial lighting,” Jacob says.

An installation of solatubes was selected to brighten up the central area of Jacob’s high school. The cafeteria was the perfect choice as a highly visible space that students and visitors are likely to see upon entering the building. When the sun is shining, the solatubes provide enough natural light that the artificial lights in the space will scarcely be needed. Jacob even noticed that on overcast and rainy days the cafeteria still seems to have enough light.

Jacob is and honor roll student and Eagle Scout. He plans to enroll in the Architecture Program at: The Design School Herberger Institute at Arizona State University.

In Jacob, Rachel, and Megan we see the wide range of our applicants, and their entries demonstrate both the aesthetic and efficiency benefits of adding natural light via a skylight or sun tunnel.

Please be sure to check back… more to come






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The Skylight Effect – Applicant submissions (part one)

Late last year we here at Skylights For Less were thrilled to announce our 2nd annual $1000 Scholarship Opportunity. From the outset, we challenged our applicants to artistically capture the effect a skylight or Sun Tunnel can have on an existing room or structure. With a keen focus on the contrasting relationship between the quality of a space both with and without a significant level of natural light. Submissions included the formats of photographs, photo edited mock-ups, digitized sketches, drawings and/or paintings.

Now, just a few months into the new year, we can say without a doubt: the future looks bright.

Today we will feature a couple of the many qualified applicants. We are thrilled with all the entries, each filled with ideas and images reflecting a renewed perspective, the old, made fresh again. So, whether it’s a living room reimagined or a dark office transformed into a vibrant creative space, The Skylight Effect is all about investing in the future.


Brett D.

Comparison of room without skylights to a room with skylights and plants.

Brett D. – “When a skylight is added, it makes the space flourish, just like the plants in a jungle.”

“I believe that skylights bring life to a room. I split the picture into two parts, the room with no skylights on the top and the room with skylights on the bottom, so that the viewer could get a side by side comparison of the Skylight Effect,” Brett D. says.

As a pre-architectural student and athlete at Lehigh University, Brett’s focus is on the non-traditional applications of design and architecture.

“My goal in college is to study architecture and use this as a background for developing my passion for creation and design in a career that is unique to me.”

The ability to bring real life experience to his work is key to Brett’s understanding of the Skylight Effect.

“I enjoy sitting in my living room in the sunlight that is allowed through the skylight. I wanted that feeling of enjoyment to be portrayed in my art. I wanted to show a room literally coming to life in the form of a jungle once a skylight was added. If you notice, in the top drawing, there is a hint of life. The contrast of black and white vs. color furthers this effect. Now notice how much more dramatic adding skylights to a space can really be. When a skylight is added, it makes the space flourish, just like the plants in a jungle.”


Katherine B.

Katherine B. plans on attending Clemson University this fall to major in engineering, most likely mechanical. Kathrine is active in a myriad of activities, most notable of which is her leadership in the Air Force Junior ROTC program, of which she is currently the commander.

“This program has given me immense leadership experience and has helped me to grow as a person and in my interests,” She says. “I am a very diverse person, as I enjoy both the arts and sciences.”

Kathrine enjoys drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, designing, and printing 3D models using her school’s 3D printer.

“I taught myself how to use basic 3D design software, and this has proven to be not only a fun activity, but also a valuable skill for the future”

Comparison of room with and without a skylight

Katherine B. – “comparing the two depictions side by side, which changes the perception of the room entirely.”

“[Here] you can see the immense aesthetic difference in a room without a skylight versus one with a skylight. The lighting difference is quite evident when comparing the two depictions side by side, which changes the perception of the room entirely. The lighting is much more natural and open, as opposed to the darker and less well-lit image without the skylight. The difference a light open to the sun’s natural light can make from above, even in a room that already has a window, is clear.”

Thank you to Katherine and Brett for two quality entries towards the Skylight Effect Scholarship.  Please be sure to check back as we will be posting additional entries in the coming days.



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How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Light

velux_skylight_light_woman_readingYour home may not always seem like it, but it is an investment. Sometimes you might wonder why you made this investment in the first place! People struggle with all types of issues with their house, but ultimately, it is your family’s home, and being able to leverage your better judgement into decisions that slow down its depreciation is important. To maintain, or improve, the value of your home you need to act deliberately and confidently in choosing projects that can produce results which you, your family, and potential buyers will find value in – otherwise, you could be throwing away cash. If you are looking to repurpose that dark and drab place in your home that has bothered you since you moved in, transform it into a space that has value; and, not just sentimental value.


You already know that spot in your house that could use more light. In fact, you’ve already decided that you need to do something about it. You’ve looked at examples of just how effective a Velux skylight can be in altering the look and feel of a room. Maybe you’ve looked at the different types of skylights, from fixed to manual to solar to electric, and watched the tutorials on just how simple it is to install one. You might’ve researched the blinds and accessories you would need to maximize your skylight’s value. You’ve even gone so far as to call up a local contractor to get a quote on how much they would charge you to do install one. Yet the space you want to transform remains left in the dark.

man scratching headIt seems as if you have made the decision, but why haven’t you committed to the installation of a skylight?


The answer is simple: It is an intimidating decision to commit to. Despite the laundry list of benefits that installing a Velux skylight can have on a room, you are still paying to cut a hole in your roof. You aren’t the first (and won’t be the last) to field some internal doubt about it. Many homeowners have a difficult time committing to the home improvements they’d like to make, but as you will see, installing a deck-mounted or curb-mounted Velux skylight isn’t as complicated as you may think.


If the prospects of improving your home’s usable space or boosting its overall value aren’t enough for you to pull the trigger, consider some of the other valuable benefits a Velux skylight can present:

  • Exposure to More Natural Light – Natural light is not only more aesthetically pleasing than artificial light, it has many health benefits, and tends to make people more alert, attentive, and focused.
  • Better Ventilation – With an electric or manual venting Velux skylight, your home will have superior ventilation and help you cut down on your cooling costs.
  • Saves You Money – Since skylights are literally windows on your roof, you will be exposed to more of the sun’s light, making your home less expensive to power, and to heat.

open venting skylight

Once you’ve made the decision to go ahead and move forward installing a Velux skylight, and allowing up to 30% more light into your home, you surely won’t regret it. The SkylightsForLess team can assist you with any of your skylight-related questions to help you determine the best fit for your situation, your home, and your budget. For more information, call us today at 1 (800) 284-5194.


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$1000 Scholarship Contest – The Skylight Effect is excited to offer our second annual $1000 scholarship opportunity available to current college students and graduating high school students. The scholarship will be provided for the 2016-2017 academic school year. The scholarship may be used to cover tuition, books, on campus room & board or other related educational expenses.

The scholarship looks to reward a prospective student who plans to major in: Photography, Art, Graphics Design, Architecture, Interior Design or other majors (open to all majors).

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Ways to brighten a room with a skylight

Skylights are an excellent option when it comes to brightening up a home with natural lighting, but to ensure that your new lighting is actually effective throughout the year it is important to plan carefully for your skylight installation. The planning process can be made easy by considering the following list of aspects that Modernize has put together in order of importance:


Choose Location Wisely

While any location might be considered a good location to install a skylight, there are many factors that determine the absolute best location to install a skylight. The same considerations need be taken when choosing the proper type and size of skylight for the install and the need for accessories like blinds.

You should consider the direction the roof is facing where the skylight will be installed to determine the amount of exposure the skylight will receive. For example, if you install a skylight on a sloping roof that faces toward the south, you will need to take the long hours of exposure/direct sunlight into consideration. The sunlight will surely provide additional natural light to the living space but also has potential warm the room. If the warming effect of the direct sunlight is a concern light filtering, room darkening, or venetian blinds may need to be considered as an accessory to the skylight. On the other hand, north facing skylights tend to offer diffused lighting year-round for a less intense effect. Take some time to inspect the way the sun moves over your home to help choose the ideal location for your next skylight installation.


















Via Modernize


Go Big and Bright
Installing small skylights may seem like a good way to save money on your project but the larger your skylights are the more effective they’re bound to be overall – this alone may overshadow the savings you might’ve realized during the buying process. Consider spending a little more upfront for larger skylights as they are sure to pay for themselves in terms of convenience, airflow, and lighting benefits. Ideally, a skylight should be big enough to brighten at least half of the room it is in once it’s installed— the SkylightsForLess team is available to help answer any questions you have with regard determining the best type of skylight for your project as well as how each skylight you consider purchasing will perform once installed.














Via Modernize


Use Blind Options
Once your skylight is installed, you can ensure that the sun it lets through is both adequate and comfortable for the living space the skylight is servicing. Installing blinds will provide some extra insulation to help better maintain comfortable temperatures indoors and minimize the wear and tear that is put on your HVAC system throughout the year. You may even save yourself some money on energy costs each month! Three types of blinds offered by Velux are:

Venetian Blinds provide the perfect combination of functionality and design. The simple control mechanism allows the venetian blind to be positioned at any point along the window while also allowing for better control over the amount of light the blind is passing. Not only are the Venetian blinds stylish, they are also functional and efficient helping to reduce heating and cooling costs. Gain up to 12% of energy efficiency from the insulating properties of a venetian blind.

Light Filtering Blinds offer a natural, soft, diffused lighting in the room as well as offering an energy efficiency of up to 16%. The diffused the light makes a living space more enjoyable and eliminates the glare caused by direct sunlight on surfaces like countertops and picture frame glass.

Room Darkening Blinds are designed to block sunlight in rooms that benefit from a darker setting. This type of blind is ideal for a bedroom or nursery space. Room darkening blinds offer an efficiency up to 20% with an aluminum coating on the back side of the blind that reflects sunlight and heat. Room darkening blinds are available in both manual and solar power models.

With the help of these tips and tricks, you should be able to enjoy perfect lighting all year long and you’ll increase your home’s eye appeal for potential buyers if you decide to put it on the market in the future.

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Fixed skylights vs Venting skylights – what are the differences?

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.

VELUX Solar Venting Deck Mounted Skylights - VSS

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$1000 Skylight Effect Scholarship 2015

Skylights For Less is proud to announce that we will be offering our second annual $1000 scholarship! This scholarship will be available to any current or college bound student for the 2015 – 2016 academic school year. The money can be used for any college related costs. Tuition, room, board, books, etc. To apply for the scholarship we are asking you to “Artistically capture the charm provided by the addition of a Skylight or Sun Tunnel installation to an existing room or structure. Each submission should establish a contrasting relationship between the quality of a space both with and without a significant level of natural light. Submissions in the format of photographs, photo edited mock-ups, digitized sketches, drawings and/or paintings are all acceptable formats for submissions. After we receive your scholarship submission we will place the best entries on our Facebook and Google Plus accounts.  The scholarship was deigned for students majoring in Architecture, Interior Design, Art, Graphics Design, or similar. Though, we will accept applicants from any major that want to show off their creative side! For skylight inspiration check out pages like Houzz or boards on pinterest. Explore your everyday life and take pictures of skylights you see in buildings you frequent, you may be surprised how much inspiration you can find in places your visit regularly.

Skylights For Less $500 Scholarship Opportunity

Skylights For Less $1000 Scholarship Opportunity

Official Eligibility
Applicants to the 2015-16 Skylights For Less Scholarship program shall meet the following criteria:
• Must be planning to enroll or be enrolled in undergraduate study at any accredited college or university within the United States for the 2015-2016 Academic School year
• Applicant must have a GPA > 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
• Must be an American citizen or have a student visa

You are required to supply personal information to Skylights For Less to verify your submission and provide a means of contact should you become the winner of this scholarship. Submitted works will become the property of and could be displayed on the website or used in any other promotional materials online or offline.

Application Process
Qualified students may e-mail their submissions to The submission will be required to include a cover letter with the following information:
• A description of your completed work (150-400 words)
• Your Legal Name
• Mailing Address
• Telephone Number
• E-mail address
• A brief biography or statement of your goals in college (150-400 words)
• Name of your College/University and proposed year of graduation

We wish you the best of luck and are very excited to see your submissions! Find and follow us on twitter @skylights4less and Facebook at

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New for Velux 2015 Video – VELUX America President Tim Miller

Check out this video of Tim Miller the president of VELUX America showing new products that VELUX will be offering starting March of 2015.

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