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Using Elevated Windows to Daylight Your Home

new kitchen and living room windows in a modern home

What is “daylighting,” and how can your local Des Moines window company help revitalize your living spaces?

Daylighting is the process of brightening a room with natural light through use of high windows above standing level and skylights. It’s an energy saving method so effective it’s recommended by the Department of Energy. With effective daylighting, you can light your living space or home office solely with natural light during the day, saving you money on your electric bill as well as your HVAC costs. Daylighting can also have positive effects on your health and well-being. Exposure to natural sunlight helps you to stay energized during the day and sleep more soundly at night. Natural light is also shown to improve overall mood and sense of creativity.

People crave sunlight. It’s stronger and healthier than any light we’ve been able to create ourselves. Here’s what you should know to prepare for daylighting your home.

The Right Kind of Windows

Awning windows are typically used for the daylighting process. Awning windows are horizontal, rectangular, or square windows, hinged at the top, and open outward to allow for the best ventilation into the home. Open awning windows allow not only sunlight, but fresh outside air to filter through the room while keeping out any adverse weather.

Another option is picture windows. Picture windows are fixed windows. They’re not meant to be open, but they are meant to filter natural light through the room. Picture windows come in all shapes, whether vertical or horizontal, round or rectangular.

The most effective windows for daylighting should also be clerestory, which means they should be high above standing level, closer to ceiling level. The higher the windows, the less likely the light is to be blocked by other buildings or trees. Clerestory windows allow for the most light to flood your living space.

Finally, it’s important that the window panes themselves be energy efficient. Window glass that conducts too much heat or not enough heat can cause your space to be stuffy or drafty. Check out our blog about vinyl windows, a cost-effective and energy-efficient option for your window panes.

Direction of the Windows Matters

The direction your windows face in relation to the position of the sun is vital in creating an effective daylighting space. Since the sun’s direction from rising to setting is east to west, east and west facing windows will allow the most light to filter through the room for the longest period of time. However, this can cause an irritating glare and it may make the room stuffy in the summer and drafty in the winter. This is where the energy efficiency of your windows comes into play. Vinyl windows with low-E coatings can keep unwanted heat or cold out while still allowing light to filter through.

Because the earth’s movement around the sun changes its position in our sky through different seasons, south-facing windows and north-facing windows also have different effects. South-facing windows will allow natural light to flood the room during the winter, but they can be nearly ineffective in summer. North-facing windows offer little glare and almost no unwanted heat…but that’s mostly because they’re the least likely windows to get direct sunlight. However, south and north facing windows provide excellent ambient light or reflected light. Good ambient light minimizes shadows and fills the room with a soft, relaxing glow.

What Rooms Should You Daylight?

Any room in your home can benefit from daylighting. Ask Zen Windows Des Moines for a quote to give you an idea of what rooms you can afford to daylight in your home. Here are some ideas:

Kitchen. Imagine natural sunlight flooding the room as you eat your breakfast, sip your coffee, and prepare to face the day. Daylighting your kitchen can give you more energy at the start of the day. It’s also great if you love to cook. The added light will help you to see what you’re doing more clearly and focus on your task.

Home Office. A dim home office can be disorienting and distracting, and your work can suffer for it. Natural sunlight flooding your home office will boost your energy and help you to be more productive throughout your work day.

Living Room. This is the room where you’re likely to spend most of your time, so it makes sense to brighten it with plenty of natural daylight. Daylighting your living room is also a way to wow your guests when they come to visit you.

Bedroom. Waking up in the morning can be hard, especially when you have to wake up early to go to work or school. Daylighting your bedroom will help you keep your sleep schedule on track. Sunlight through the window tells your brain to wake up in a refreshing, natural way, rather than the jarring sound of an alarm clock.

Daylighting your home is a great way to save energy, money, and to make your home a relaxing enjoyable space. Contact Zen Windows Des Moines today about your options and the best plan to let the light in to your most used living spaces.