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

SkylightsForLess.com 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, skylight blinds such as 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.

Velux skylights in furnished living room

Living room with Velux Skylights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Velux Skylights in empty living area with lots of windows and a single folding chair

Room with Velux Skylights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Via Modernize

 

Use Skylight Blinds
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 skylight 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.

Ready to start shopping? Click here to view our selection of Velux blinds!
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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

Terms
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 SkylightsForLess.com and could be displayed on the website www.skylightsforless.com or used in any other promotional materials online or offline.

Application Process
Qualified students may e-mail their submissions to scholarship@skylightsforless.com. 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 www.facebook.com/skylightsforless

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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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New VELUX Products

VELUX IBS Booth

Skylights for Less visited the VELUX booth at the International Builder Show in Las Vegas earlier this week.  Here’s a quick preview of some of their new and innovative products.  Be sure to check Skylights for Less in the coming weeks for more details and purchasing information!

VELUX IBS Booth

VELUX IBS Booth


VELUX Modular Skylights
Designed for both residential and commercial applications, VELUX Modular Skylights offer and elegant and energy efficient design. They can be designed in a variety of forms and angles to achieve almost any desired look.

VELUX Modular Skylights

VELUX Modular Skylights

VELUX Modular Skylights

VELUX Modular Skylights


VELUX GXU Roof Access Window
For the homeowner that needs roof access, VELUX now has a GXU unit for that purpose. Made for a slanted roof, it’s a perfect way to get onto the roof!

 


VELUX Light Shaft
The instant light shaft is the one-stop-shop trim piece for any skylight installation. No need to do any trim work after the install, just pop in the light shaft kit and you’re done!


VELUX TCR Commercial Sun Tunnel
22″ Sun Tunnel for commercial applications. It’s a beauty in person.

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Health Benefits of VELUX Skylights

There are many considerations to be made when incorporating skylights into your home’s design. There are some as simple as where to locate the skylight to maximize the most natural light during the day, and some as complex as to which u-factor and solar heat gain coefficient ratings would be the most energy efficient in the climate you live. But have you ever considered the impact a skylight would have on your health and well-being?

The importance of daylight to many living organisms is paramount. Daylight is responsible for regulating many biological systems that allow us to function properly. It impacts our production of Vitamin D (which is important for calcium absorption), regulation of our circadian biological clocks, and even its impact on gene expression.

 

bathroom-with-skylight-111Now you may be wondering how much of an impact skylights can have on these biological functions. The answer is tremendous. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors! Being indoors for such a lengthy period of time exposes our bodies to a higher concentration of pollutants; about 2 to 5 times more than if we were standing right outside of our home or office. In fact:

In addition to pollutant sources, the rate at which air exchanges with the outdoors is an important factor in determining indoor air pollutant concentrations. The air exchange rate is affected by the design, construction, and operating parameters of buildings and is ultimately a function of these three factors:

  • Infiltration – air that flows into structures through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings and around windows and doors
  • Natural ventilation – air that flows through opened windows and doors
  • Mechanical ventilation – air that is forced indoors or vented outdoors by ventilation devices, such as fans or air handling systems

Outdoor climate and weather conditions combined with occupant behavior can also affect indoor air quality. Weather conditions influence whether building occupants keep windows open or closed and whether they operate air conditioners, humidifiers, or heaters, all of which can impact indoor air quality. Weather also has a large effect on infiltration. Certain climatic conditions can increase the potential for indoor moisture and mold growth if not controlled by adequate ventilation or air conditioning.

A simple and effective solution is to incorporate ventilating skylights into your home’s design. The skylight will allow more natural light to penetrate your home or office, which will provide your body with more daylight to help maintain biological functions. The ventilating option will help to decrease the indoor air pollutants, which can cause allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases, all the while providing your home with energy efficient air conditioning, or fresh air.

Skylights For Less carries the perfect option for your home and budget. If you reside in a consistently warmer climate where venting your home would be a regular necessity and you’re on a budget, you may prefer the manual venting skylight. If you live in a cooler climate where venting the home may be periodic and seasonal, the electric venting skylight may provide you ventilation with ease. The most sustainable option would be the solar venting skylight which can be programmed to open and close at predetermined times. It also houses a sensor that will close the skylight automatically when it rains, which will be one less thing for you to remember. The solar venting skylight and installation is also eligible for up to a 30% tax credit along with solar powered blinds!

Visit our products page to find the right skylight options for you. And if you need assistance our skylight experts are just a phone call away at 1-800-284-5194.

 

References:

1- http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional

2 – http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-drive-and-your-body-clock

3 – http://cfpub.epa.gov/eroe/index.cfm?fuseaction=list.listBySubTopic&ch=46&s=343

4 – http://www.veluxusa.com/consumer/products/taxcredits.aspx

VELUX Warehouse Tour

VELUX Warehouse

VELUX Skylights calls Greenwood South Carolina home, but they have several warehouses around the country. I recently took a quick tour of their warehouse in Windsor, Connecticut while picking up two customers’ orders. Opened in 2005, the Windsor location services contractors and wholesalers across all of New England, with some shipments going as far south as Pennsylvania and Maryland.

VELUX Warehouse

Windsor, CT

VELUX Warehouse


Shrink Wrap & Pallets
Larger orders need to be wrapped and put on a pallet before shipping, especially larger skylight units that are heavy and cannot be shipped by UPS and FedEx.

VELUX Warehouse

Pallet Area

Pallet Area


Busy Season
The warehouse is usually stocked from floor to ceiling. During the busy season, March to October, skylights and accessories are shipping out faster than they come in, so the stacks are not as high. During the down season (ie the winter), VELUX works to replenish stock and prepares for home improvement season.

VELUX Warehouse


Installation Area
Customers can order blinds with any skylight and have them factory installed and configured for FREE. Yes, free meaning $0! Before a skylight is shipped out, a technician installs the blinds, tests it out, and if applicable, configures the remote control and accessories. Pictured below is a technician setting up a solar powered blind for a VELUX FCM skylight. The FCM unit is the only one that requires an accessory tray to hold the blind. All other units natively accept the blind. Solar powered blinds come with the VELUX KLR 200 INTEGRA Control Pad, which is handheld but has a wall mounted bracket that holds the control pad when not in use. It’s magnetic so the pad just clicks right into the bracket!

Solar Blind Installation

Solar blinds with Accessory Tray for FCM Skylight

Solar Blind Installation

Solar blinds with Accessory Tray for FCM Skylight

Solar Blind Installation

Solar blinds with Accessory Tray for FCM Skylight

Solar Blind Installation

Solar blinds with Accessory Tray for FCM Skylight

To ensure that skylights with installed blinds are differentiated from skylights without blinds, VELUX adds green tape to the box. It’s much easier to keep track that way!

Installed Blinds

Installed Blinds


Display Models
VELUX has a few different models on display in their reception area. First is a 22” SUN TUNNEL. Reading about it online doesn’t do justice to just how big it really is. The customer service rep told me that at the main VELUX facility in South Carolina, SUN TUNNELS are typically installed in the bathrooms for added light. It looks so realistic that some visitors actually think it’s a ceiling-mounted light and occasionally search for the “OFF” switch to turn it off.

22" SUN TUNNEL

Roof view

22" SUN TUNNEL

Attic view

A solar blind is pictured below. The solar sensor is installed facing outside so it can collect light and charge the battery. A wall mounted keypad controls the blinds.

Solar Blinds

Solar Blinds

Wall Mounted Keypad

For use with solar blinds

Pictured here is a manual venting skylight. Notice the crank handle and manual telescopic control rod that opens and closes the skylight.

Manual Venting Skylight

Crank handle shown


Repair Area
Any products that are returned due to damage while shipping can be repaired if possible. If a technician can repair the product into good working order that lives up to VELUX’s high standard and warranty, it can go back on the shelf. Otherwise, it gets sent to live on little skylight farm in the country along with the other skylights…

Repair Area

Repair Area

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