las! The days are now 2 minutes longer! That’s 120 seconds! I feel energized already and no longer needing the whole Vitamin D tab. Really, please bring in light whenever possible. But careful what you wish for. Artists and most creative types prefer the northern light as it casts shadows of interest across objects and walls creating different moods and what appears to be different wall shades of colour. The direct south and western light can be harsh, even burning and offensive and certainly damaging in many ways to anything of value. So key is light angle and intensity. Always provide natural light from two sides of every room. Otherwise all features will appear in shadow when looking out.
When it becomes impossible to provide light from the second side, then skylights are a great option. The trick is to attach the skylight well to an adjacent wall. Not just to extend the height of the wall, but to use the wall as a reflector and transmitter of this wonderful source.
Then in the evening, create a light valence with some indirect light that mimics this daytime shaft of visual splendor and you will never be without. Clerestory and piano windows, those high windows over doors and you guessed it, pianos, are also great for bringing in tree top or mountain top perspectives without the added glare of the sun. This allows the light to reach far into a room to reflect again off walls and objects which suddenly become a light source in themselves and still provide curtain less privacy. Today’s fascination with seamless shower doors and floor to ceiling glass with flush shower entries adds to this illusion of never ending light that can often be illuminated by as little as a 24” square (60 cm) skylight. If placed over a shower stall, the shaft can add visual height to a room as well and for cleaning, well heck, you already have the spray hose and squeegee handy so don’t complain. A splayed or enlarged opening inside the home allows for less shadow and increases the light volume exponentially. Again purchase quality skylights with up to triple glazing if possible because you have just compromised your attic
DESIGNI NG green LET THERE BE LIGHT!
Image David Coulson
insulation by over 75%. Todays skylights have become very affordable. Demand Low E and Argon filled sealed units as a minimum and if oriented west or south, be sure to include ‘solar bronze’, a very light but UV reflective tint to them. The cost for skylights are now about half of what they were 20 years ago and far more efficient. They can easily be installed into existing roofs less than 10 years old fairly quickly but best installed at re-roofing stage. The toughest and costliest part is dry walling the light shaft, repainting the ceiling and insulating the shaft from the attic side. A less glamorous but far cheaper install are the ‘solar tubes’ of various names that provide quick
and direct shafts of light to hard to reach spots in the house. They certainly look less architectural inside and on the roof but they are about ½ the price or less of a small skylight. There is always your local travel agent. An affordable travel company like Whittome’s or Marlin Travel will take you to the beach of your choice. They have both looked after me and my family for years and like they say, there is no dust to clean up afterwards!
sutton group • west coast realty
250.748.5000 2610 Beverly Street Duncan, BC
Valley Voice Magazine - Your Monthly Guide to Living in the Cowichan Valley
David Coulson is a local certified Built Green design builder. He has a staff of 25 that have built throughout the Island for over 20 years.