<h2 style="margin: 10pt 0in 0pt"><font size="3" color="#990000">The home improvement that can ‘green’ your winter</font></h2><p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – Spring and summer needn’t be the only seasons of ‘green.’ In fact, winter is a great time to green your home, especially if you undertake improvements that deliver environmental, economic, emotional and physical health benefits. Adding a skylight delivers all those green pluses – and it’s doable even during winter.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Modern skylights can be installed in as little time as a day by a trained professional," says Joe Patrick, senior product manager of skylight manufacturer Velux. "Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, creating a natural light-filled environment, but they’re also environmentally friendly in many ways."</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Natural lighting</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">What’s the only kind of light that’s 100 percent energy efficient and the use of which doesn’t emit greenhouse gases? The answer is sunlight, and you can use the power of the sun to create a bright, warm environment in your home this winter. Skylights brighten your home with light from above, even on rainy winter days when the sun stays hidden behind clouds. Installing a skylight can help reduce energy bills because the natural light of the sun can reduce your need for electric lights and, on sunny days, help warm your home. Just be sure to choose an energy-efficient skylight that is Energy Star qualified.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><img src="../images/kitchen-skylights.jpg" border="0" alt="Kitchen skylights provide natural light and passive ventilation to one of the most used rooms in the home and can be fitted with blinds or shades for complete light control." title="Kitchen skylights provide natural light and passive ventilation to one of the most used rooms in the home and can be fitted with blinds or shades for complete light control." width="450" height="311" /></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Natural ventilation</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Other forms of home ventilation require electricity to power exhaust fans, but a skylight can offer healthy passive ventilation. Modern venting skylights admit fresh air while silently removing stale indoor air. The chimney effect of an open skylight vents volatile organic compounds (VOCs), humidity and stale air out of the home far more effectively than an open window. Current green building guidelines encourage the use of natural ventilation for its health and energy conservation benefits.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Passive ventilation can help alleviate "sick house" symptoms that develop when a house doesn’t "breathe" – or exchange stale indoor air for fresh outdoor air. Many items in the home, from adhesives, upholstery and carpet to the furnace, fireplaces, and even pressed wood cabinets and cupboards, can emit VOCs into your home environment. Short-term exposure to VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, eye irritation, sore throat and nasal irritation. Venting VOCs through a skylight can improve the overall healthfulness of your indoor environment, especially in winter when homes tend to be closed up and VOCs build up.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>SAD responds to sunlight</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Ventilating our homes during the winter isn’t the only health consideration that skylights can address.<span>  </span>Bringing more natural light into our daily lives may be more important for our health than many people realize. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is known to be related to how much sunlight we receive. Individuals with SAD may experience emotional depression, a drop in physical energy, increased appetite, and increased need for sleep.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Bright-light therapy can benefit people with SAD. In fact, some researchers conclude that light therapy may help alleviate SAD symptoms faster than antidepressant drugs. In a review of clinical trials of light therapy, Dr. Daniel Kripke at the University of California, San Diego reported that light therapy benefits not only SAD patients, but also people suffering from other forms of depression.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Winter is the right time</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">You may avoid a home improvement that requires opening a roof during winter.<span>  </span>But the winter-busting benefits of a skylight can outweigh any minor inconveniences of installation. Trained installers can quickly add a skylight to virtually any room in your home.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">And don’t worry about winter precipitation. Today’s skylights, when properly installed with matched flashing kits, eliminate leak concerns. In fact, Velux offers "no-leak" deck-mounted skylights with both a product guarantee and an installation guarantee.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>The basics</strong></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">There are two basic types of traditional skylights – fixed, which do not open, and venting, which can be opened and closed manually or by remote control. A third type, tubular, such as the Velux Sun Tunnel, provides cost-effective, passive light in smaller areas such as closets, laundry rooms, pantries, hallways or second baths.<span>  </span>These units also have light kits for nighttime use.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Accessories allow you to control the light or heat entering your home through your skylight. Venetian blinds, blackout blinds and roller blinds are available. Depending on what type you choose, you can completely block light entering through the skylight or soften the light to a diffused, gentle glow. Like electric skylights, accessories can be controlled with a remote.</p><div style="text-align: center"><img src="../images/bathroom-skylights.jpg" border="0" alt="The natural chimney effect of venting skylights in the bath passively exhausts condensation and moisture while providing privacy." title="The natural chimney effect of venting skylights in the bath passively exhausts condensation and moisture while providing privacy." width="450" height="252" /></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Advanced double pane LoE3 insulated glass in the newest skylights reduces heat gain by 64 percent compared to ordinary glass and by 35 percent compared to earlier LoE2 glass, prov
iding more daylight and better heat control for year-round comfort and energy savings.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">To learn more about sustainable living and the green benefits of skylights in winter and year round, visit veluxusa.com. For additional information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/" target="_blank">energystar.gov</a>, <a href="http://nfrc.org/" target="_blank">nfrc.org</a> or <a href="http://efficientwindows.org/" target="_blank">efficientwindows.org</a></p>  <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">Courtesy of ARAcontent</span></p></span>