|In Praise of Rays|
Using Windows and Doors to Bring Natural Light into Your Home
(ARA) - Dark and confining may be fine for a cave, but it isn’t what most
people want in their homes. Today’s homeowners want well-lit, personal spaces
throughout the house, and more continuity with the outside world.
Windows and doors are central design elements of every home, bringing in
sunshine and natural light, and providing fresh air and views that transform
enclosed areas into comfortable, inviting living spaces. Increasing natural
light in the home to supplement or replace electrical lights, is becoming more
important to homeowners as they consider new homes or look to remodel their
“The sun warms our souls. It makes us happy to be alive. On a sunny day,
especially after a winter of gray skies, your first instinct when you step
outside is to raise your face to the sun and smile,” said Joan McCloskey, an
editor with Better Homes and Gardens magazine. “That same feeling happens in a
sunny room with broad expanses of glass that beckon in the buttery yellow light.
The sun makes colors seem more intense, not muted. Properly placed and
right-sized windows can do a lot for the look, feel and personality of a home.
The sun creeps into corners and makes a room feel bigger, airier, and fresh.”
Technology Makes it Possible
Today’s windows and doors are better engineered than those made in the 1970s
-- a time when more than 20 million American homes were built. Advanced
materials and design now make it possible for windows to be larger, stronger and
more energy efficient. In addition, today’s manufacturing technologies allow
homeowners to select windows and doors in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles.
Advancements in glass technology also have contributed to the growth of
window design in the home. Newer, low emissivity (Low-E) coatings significantly
reduce heating and cooling costs, and help manage the effects of ultraviolet
light -- which can be a cause of fabric fading.
Get Out the Compass
Achieving maximum natural lighting and energy efficiency depend in part on
climate, where the windows are placed in the home, the home’s architecture and
the landscaping surrounding it.
For example, south-exposure windows provide large amounts of direct lighting
throughout most of the day, while north-exposure windows, by comparison, provide
shaded, even lighting. Windows placed on the east and west sides of the home
allow for lots of light, along with even, shaded light, at respective times.
In addition to simply letting in more light, windows can help shape the sun’s
rays into dramatic patterns and layers through the use of grilles, art glass and
shaped windows. Rooms with multiple exposures can benefit from direct and
indirect lighting that can create a feeling of warmth and spaciousness.
“Think of windows as part of the total wall plan, not only in terms of the
pattern they will create on the exterior side of the wall, but how light will
come into the room. Light will bounce off the ceiling when windows are placed
high in the wall, adding to the positive effects of the indirect lighting,” said
Fred Foster, an architect with Andersen Windows, Inc. “Lighting areas directly
and indirectly with natural light causes less glare, which will result in a more
pleasing quality of light in the home. Natural light sources give objects and
materials in interior spaces a more natural, truer color.”
Skylights are a perfect example of how to add a different lighting source in
the home. Installed in the roof, skylights can be optimally positioned to bring
light to areas in a unique way, often complementing light from existing windows
and doors -- perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. Skylights are also a great
solution for lighting rooms where privacy may be an issue, where there may be a
less than desirable view, or where there is no outside wall such as in a
According to experts at Andersen Windows, homeowners can increase natural
light in their home in three ways:
* Adding windows, skylights or patio doors to their home
* Replacing old windows with new ones placed in optimal locations
* Replacing windows and doors with larger ones or window/door combinations
In addition to lighting a house, natural light has many potential health
benefits. Sunshine and daylight may affect people psychologically and
physiologically, and living in dark, poorly lit homes may lead to mood changes,
depression and conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
For more information on the virtually limitless sizes, styles and
combinations of Andersen windows and doors that can help increase natural
lighting in your home, visit www.andersenwindows.com or call (800) 426-4261,
reference # 3019.
Courtesy of ARA Content