Daylight is the cheapest and most valuable source of light in your home. Natural light is free and our eyes prefer it. Properly placed skylights can help reduce the electricity you use for lighting, but they are also a source of unwanted heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. And the glare produced by their direct light can be unpleasant when the sun is high overhead in the summer.These tips can help you enjoy your skylights while reducing their energy expense and improving the quality of light they bring into your home.

  • Shop for skylights with a translucent glazing that produces a soft-white light. This will help to reduce glare.
  • If your skylights have a clear glazing, use a ceiling diffuser at the ceiling level of the skylight shaft, like those used for fluorescent light fixtures. This will prevent glare and improve light distribution throughout the room.
  • Shop for skylights with low-e double-glazing to control heat loss in the winter and gain in the summer.
  • Install an interior insulating shade or panel to insulate the skylight from nighttime winter heat loss. This will make the biggest difference if your skylight doesn’t have low-e double-glazing, but it won’t hurt to add insulation over even the most efficient skylight.
  • Use an exterior shading system over the skylight during the summer. This could be a bamboo shade or a roll-down fabric cover. To prevent overheating, exterior shading always works best for both skylights and windows since it stops heat before it enters the home.

 Residential Energy, Chapter 7 contains information on lighting energy efficiency.