Balancing the daylight from the windows
Despite the spectacular window wall facing Humphreys Peak to the north, the Owens Construction team had concerns about letting enough daylight into the great room, and under the porch roof to the east. If the home were rotated 180 degrees and faced south instead, we’d have the opposite problem—too much sun penetration. The best solution was to introduce skylights deep into the great room, to help balance the light coming from three sides.
Skylights are a powerful tool in any remodeler's toolbox, as they provide generous amounts of natural light throughout the day—about 2x as much as a comparably sized window—and reduce the need to turn on electric lights during the day. Daylight, from whatever source, is a mood enhancer, and researchers are coming up with more evidence every day that exposure to daylight helps set circadian rhythms, which has a profound influence on human health.
The four skylights on the east and west faces of the steep roof are stacked, and the heads will be level, with the sills plumb, as the splay helps disperse the light and maximize the skylight’s effectiveness. And with a 16/12 roof pitch, we’re not concerned about snow build up.
On the flat porch roof to the east, two curb-mounted 4x4 skylights were placed just outside the sliding doors to help bring daylight both to the deck and the great room. These units have a unique curved-glass third pane that is treated with a coating that disperses water evenly, which should cut down on the need to climb out there and clean them.