New Skylight Design Is Even More Efficient

Reader Contribution by Kellsey Trimble
article image

A new energy efficient skylight design, called skylight scoops, from the Light Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic are proving to harness sunlight more effectively and lower energy costs even more. With a passive solar design skylight scoops put renewable energy to work.

Stated in a press release from Science Daily, “Many conventional horizontal skylights provide too much sun on days that are warm and sunny, and too little sun on days that are cold and dark. The LRC’s new light scoops design balances out these daily and seasonal fluctuations in light level and temperature by providing less light in summer and more light in winter, while accounting for the natural pattern of the sun as it travels across the sky.”

Scoop skylights are best for environments that are typically overcast. “The tilted, transparent glazing (glass) provides an optimal balance of daylight under both sunny and overcast conditions. In overcast conditions, a light scoop receives light from the brightest part of the sky (zenith). On rare sunny days, the clear glazing maximizes direct sunlight at a time of year when it is most welcome and the tilted glazing receives more sun in winter than vertical or horizontal glazing,” according to the design guide released by the LRC.

Skylight scoops have been shown to increase satisfaction with one’s environment as well. In evaluations after light scoop installations at a Welch Allyn headquarters building in New York, staff reported that they preferred the lighting from the scoops and that it created a better environment. “Approximately 75% of staff notice the sun and therefore feel connected to the outdoor environment. Almost 90% ‘Like’ or ‘Strongly Like’ seeing sun patches in the lobby.”

Light Scoops: A Design Guide describes the best way to install skylight scoops and how to make them the most effective. Pair this guide with the how-to article “Install a DIY Skylight” from MOTHER EARTH NEWS and you could make your own energy-saving, mood-boosting skylight scoops.