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High-Performance Polycarbonate Skylight Systems

A balance of natural light, design flexibility and energy efficiency Whether it is in commercial or residential buildings, daylighting continues to play an important role in architectural design. Lighting a building with natural light not only reduces heating, cooling and electricity costs but it also helps improve the productivity and well-being of those who live… Continue reading High-Performance Polycarbonate Skylight Systems

A balance of natural light, design flexibility and energy efficiency

Whether it is in commercial or residential buildings, daylighting continues to play an important role in architectural design. Lighting a building with natural light not only reduces heating, cooling and electricity costs but it also helps improve the productivity and well-being of those who live and work in those buildings. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, polycarbonate skylight systems are becoming an increasingly effective way of bringing natural daylight into a building’s design.

Structured polycarbonate

Because of its advanced UV protection, high insulation values and excellent light diffusion properties, the use of structured polycarbonate in daylighting systems has many sustainability advantages. Multiwall polycarbonate is also durable and virtually unbreakable, and offers exceptional design flexibility. These lightweight panels can be easily field-fabricated and cold-formed, making them an ideal glazing option for skylight fabricators.

When designed properly, polycarbonate skylight systems can maximize the amount of high-quality natural light coming into a building. Intended to improve thermal performance and efficiency, polycarbonate skylight systems are often used in passive solar design. The hollow-core structure of multiwall polycarbonate limits heat gain from the outside during summer while allowing added thermal gain in the winter, minimizing energy use and costs. For increased thermal performance, polycarbonate panels may be filled with silica aerogel. The addition of these dry silica particulates greatly reduces heat transfer, while also reducing sound transmission.

Light-diffusing properties

Aerogel-filled panels combine thermal performance and light diffusion with the strength and usability of multiwall polycarbonate. The light-diffusing properties of polycarbonate skylight systems scatter light over a wide range of angles, promoting even light distribution and solar control.

The use of these high-performance daylighting systems in architecture design maximizes the spread of daylight within a building’s interior while minimizing shadows and hotspots. This creates soft, comfortable, glare-free lighting. Studies show diffused, natural light promotes a healthier, happier work and educational environment.

Not only do polycarbonate skylight systems improve visual comfort levels, they improve the indoor environmental quality of a given space. Natural daylighting is a great way to brighten any room in a building. Even in overcast conditions, the use of polycarbonate skylights allows interior spaces to be predominantly lit by natural light, with little or no additional artificial lighting needed. Polycarbonate is also a 100 percent recyclable thermoplastic polymer, making it an ideal glazing solution for both saving energy and reducing the carbon footprint of any building.

Cassie Richards is marketing and communications manager at Amerilux International, DePere, Wis. For more information, visit www.ameriluxinternational.com.