Northern Colorado’s plentiful sunshine and (primarily) wide open spaces make designing a custom home to capture plenty of natural light a fairly easy proposition. Among other benefits, using natural light in your home reduces energy costs, reduces eyestrain, and helps improve your mood.
While there are many tricks you can use in your home’s décor to maximize the natural light, here are six ways you can capture natural light into the structure of your home as you are planning the design.
Strategic window placement – The placement of windows can have a great impact on the amount of light in your home. Placing windows close to adjacent walls allows sunlight to reflect and produce many more natural lumens than a window centered in the middle of a wall far away from adjacent interior walls. We can use lighting studies that determine the angles of the sun at different times of the year as well to further maximize the efficiency of natural lighting.
Tubular skylights – These skylights direct sunlight from the roof through a reflective tube to add natural light to main-floor rooms and hallways without a natural light source. A lens in the ceiling end of the tube looks similar to an in-ceiling can fixture, so it looks more like a light fixture than a skylight. Some tubes have bulbs built in so they function as a light fixture as well. Others have a remote-controlled shade or disc that functions as a dimmer to turn the light off if you need to darken the room.
Multi-panel sliding doors – By creating an entire wall of windows, these floor-to-ceiling sliders maximize the amount of light that can flood into a room. On good weather days, which we have plenty of in Northern Colorado, you can slide the doors all the way open to extend your living space out onto the deck or patio.
Clerestory windows – This row of windows used well above eye level has been used to bring natural light into interior spaces since the times of ancient Egypt. Clerestory windows tend to let in more ambient light than harsh sunlight you might get from traditional wall windows. They also light up a room while freeing up the walls for artwork, furniture, or kitchen cabinets and appliances depending on the room in which you use them. Clerestory windows that open also offer cross ventilation capabilities to keep the indoor air fresh and cut down on cooling costs.
Transom windows – These windows nestle into the typically empty space above a doorframe to allow light to pass through. Perfect for homes with a solid front door, they brighten a dark entryway while still providing a secure entry and privacy from the street. Interior transom windows can brighten rooms and, if they’re operable, improve air circulation throughout a home.
Backsplash windows – Kitchen backsplashes are traditionally tiled for easy maintenance, but there’s no reason they can’t be glass. Backsplash windows allow under-cabinet lighting to take a break during the day by brightening kitchen work areas. While any type of window will work, glass blocks allow the light to come in while retaining a degree of privacy.
We have worked with many different methods of letting natural light into a home and are happy to provide suggestions for your custom home. Give us a call and we’d be glad to chat with you.