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I know skylights are the scourge of Green Home Building but its installed and planned correctly they don't have to be as much of an energy drain. My application has an orientation SSW with some tree shading and an adjacent northern eave/gable (overhang) that will shade the mid-to-late afternoon summer gain, so my biggest concern is winter heat loss and how to mitigate this. I was thinking of somehow installing a small water bladder adjacent to the skylight well but then thought I will be getting the heat into the room anyway and I would really need to mitigate the winter night time heat loss. A sliding baffle adjacent with an inch or two of poly insulation are my thoughts since the Skylight is 18 inches wide and I can almost fit this into the adjacent rafter space. Has anyone done this? Automation would be nice with a linear servo.
 

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Just make sure you but a quality skylight with high R value. And a moving shade.

I have 2 skylights on the south side. I also have electric venetian shades on them. I close the shades in May, and open them in late September. In the winter, I really like the extra light provided by the skylights. Being on the South side, the heat gain is significant on sunny days. In the summer, everything is bright, and the extra light is not necessary (and certainly the heat gain is not welcome)

If your plan is to put insulation barriers over the skylights at night in winter months, I can see that going on for a week before you tire of it and just leave them the way they are.

In the summer, the tree you mentioned will certainly help, but I would not be positive it will be the full answer. Invest in some shades too.
 

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I know you aren't really asking, but I absolutely HATE our skylight. It's East facing, with no trees to shade it. In the Winter the added light and bit of heat it seems to provide are nice, but during the summer it heats up so much it's hard to cool the room. It's in a bathroom on our 2nd floor that I plan to renovate at some point in near future and it'll likely go away by then. For now I've just taken to installing a thick drape in the space and I tend to leave it up year around as it isn't worth the hassle and I actually think I keep heat in by leaving it covered vs. the solar heat I'd get from uncovering it.

I have no clue of the R-value of the glass as it was installed prior to our purchasing of the house, but guess it was installed in the 80's-90's.

I liked it at first.....
 

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JOATMON
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I love skylights...but they have to be planned properly.

Mine is double pained...low E...tempered glass (California requirement).

It is also openable....located in the master bath facing north. In the summer it stays open 24-7....lets all the warm air out. In the winter, it's a great source of free light.
 

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A little late to the party here but I won't install a skylight due to the tendency for them to leak and the noise created when it rains, or especially hails.

I actually have two of them right now on my porch and I'm trying to figure out how to fix the wood ceiling if I take them out when I put on a new roof.
 

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Another option for summer and winter are cellular shades.. they don't have to be inside the glass.. you can buy then separately.. they just sell a regular shade with tracks to hold it up to the skylight. Pretty easy to do yourself..

You get the slight benefit of insulating properties of the cellular blind and if you want can decide to either get black out or light filtering so you get the benefit of the extra light but don't get all that extra heat... before the blinds in the summer the skylights were miserable.. but with the blinds all is good..

We put them up on 2 of our 6 skylights.. would never consider removing them..
 

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Nowadays, the vent roof skylights have become virtually leak proof. The venting roof skylights have great flashing systems which prevent any sort of leakage. But don't think that you may merrily leave the venting skylight open even during storm and rain. Then the water will definitely enter your house
 
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