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A spine of light.

A skylight that runs the length of the house can bring in daylight, spread it from room to room. Here are four examples What a difference a skylight can make! Creating an opening to the sky can brighten even the most cavernous room. The houses pictured on these four pages take the idea a step further; in each, the entire spine of the building is opened, to bathe the whole interior with natural light from overhead and give a feeling of soaring spaciousness at the very core of the house. Most windows bring in only perimeter light, which can create disturbing imbalances in light intensity As the eye moves from light to dark, underlit interior spaces seem blacker, while objects in the brighter perimeter areas appear uncomfortably bright. Conversely, as the eye moves from dark to light, overlit objects or people can appear as backlit silhouettes. Using a ridge skylight (like those on pages 78 and 79) or centrally positioned clerestory windows (at far right) can balance light and let it flow from room to room.

In terms of energy gain and loss, these daylight collectors score high. Two of them use insulated fiberglass units to hold in heat while admitting light. Uninsulated, the vaulted acrylic skylight on page 78 is less efficient than some others, but the house it fits into is tremendously energy efficient-due largely to the house's earth-covered roof, bermed back and side walls, and carefully positioned windows. The clerestory windows in the example at right are double-glazed and scaled smaller along the north side of the house, where heat loss is greater.

With any skylight, it's difficult to calculate what gain there is in terms of energy not used. But it's safe to say that in the four houses on these pages, the electric lights are flipped on a lot less often than in conventional homes.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:skylight
Date:Feb 1, 1989
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