Skylight windows are excellent for allowing extra daylight into your home to create a bright, airy atmosphere. Like any window, though, they can also allow heat to easily transfer through. By choosing the right glazing options, however, you can make your skylight both more efficient and safer.
Insulated Glass Units
An insulated glass unit (IGU) will significantly improve the performance of your skylight. These window-units are constructed from multiple sheets of glass with spaces in-between. The sealed cavities between the panes are sometimes filled with inert argon gas.
IGUs can reduce the solar heat gain that enters through the skylight. While you may want extra daylight, on a hot day, you may not want the bright sun to heat up the room, and these units can lessen this effect. They can also insulate your home; preserving desired inside coolness in summer and lessening the escape of warmth during winter.
Two Types Of Safety Glass
Particular types of glass can be used in an IGU to improve its performance and make it safer. The inner pane is often made from laminated safety glass. This is comprised of two glass sheets that are bound together with a resin-based interlayer to form one glass pane. If laminated glass breaks, the interlayer holds all the broken pieces together so they don't fly everywhere. (Car windscreens are also made from this material.)
Sometimes the outer layer of a unit is constructed from toughened safety glass, which is about four times stronger than standard glass. This is a different type of safety glass to laminated glass. Toughened glass undergoes a tempering treatment during manufacture, which creates a safe breaking pattern within the glass. If it breaks, it shatters into blunt pebble-like pieces rather than sharp-edged bits. For an insulated unit in a skylight, laminated glass generally forms the inner pane, and toughened glass might form the outer pane.
Low emissivity glass ( low-e glass) can be used in the unit as well to improve the performance of your skylight. This type of glass has a coating on the surface that can both increase the brightness entering through and reduce heat transfer inside from the sun. So you will reap the benefit of extra sunlight without so much of the heat.
Overall, the type of glazing you use for your skylight windows will have a significant impact on their performance. Different configurations will insulate your home more or less effectively. An added benefit of IGUs is they block noise as well. Speak with local skylight window manufacturers to learn more about your options.
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