When a rooflight is added to a space, the user will no doubt gain light and, if the rooflight is openable, ventilation. But how much light will they actually get? Adding a rooflight shouldn’t just be about the aforementioned, it should be about optimising top light in the most effective way for the client.
As a company founded by an architect, we know that placement should be one of the most important things to consider. Rooflights that are installed along a north wall will give you the most dramatic light patterns, as the sun will play above the rooflight for the most hours in a day. A rooflight to the south and along the line of an internal wall (particularly an east-west wall) is certain to give you the most solar gain into a building. Obviously, other factors such as insulation and whole unit u-values will also affect how much heat is gained and lost.
We believe rooflights should be located in an area to give you both dancing light patterns as well as provide solar gain. The CAD programme SketchUP can be used to analyse where light patterns will fall at any given time of the day, at any point in the year.
This useful feature can help you predict where the shadows will be cast and give your client a realistic idea of the implications placement can have.
Download SketchUP for yourself and try it out. For more information about optimising top light click here.