Skylights can be a great addition to your Cape Cod home, contributing to both comfort and energy efficiency. The Cape Cod cottage was first designed to generate and trap heat in order to offset New England’s cold and stormy weather. Its extensive central chimney and low ceilings do a wonderful job of conserving heat, and orienting the home to face toward the south allows extra sunlight to filter in through the windows for additional heating.
While the Cape Cod cottage’s design is very efficient at conserving heat in the winter, the same heat trap effect can make summers uncomfortable. Adding skylights to your Cape Cod cottage is a stylish yet efficient way to regulate your house’s temperature and beat the heat.
Skylights can be added to your home to improve ventilation and air circulation; taking advantage of natural air circulation can decrease your summertime energy costs by up to 30%. While operable venting skylights cost more than a fixed skylight, you will want a skylight you can open to let the cool air in and the warm air out. In my years as a contractor, I’ve often clued clients in on the fact that installing a skylight in order to more fully utilize natural ventilation is more efficient than relying purely on air conditioning, and will cost less in the long run.
Even in overcast conditions, skylights can light an area well enough to eliminate the need for additional artificial lighting. On clear days, a skylight will admit more than three times as much light as an otherwise normal, vertically-oriented window of the same size. While this allows you to save on lighting, more sunlight means more radiant heat entering your home.
At its simplest, a manually-operated venting skylight uses a hand crank to open and close the skylight. More sophisticated versions of the standard skylight use a motor or even a battery-operated wireless remote control unit. Some are programmable, allowing you to set the skylight to open and close at a preset time. Top-of-the-line models incorporate integral heat sensors that will automatically open the skylight when your house’s interior reaches a preset temperature. They also have exterior sensors that detect rain and moisture then close the skylight to prevent damage to your house’s interior.
Paul Thiebeault is the Vice President of Sales for Renewal by Andersen® of Southern New England, with more than 40 years of experience in the architectural, building and remodeling industries. His blog at http://www.myflawlesswindow.com/blog regularly offers tips to help customers find the best products and services available.