Let the Daylight in and Save Money on Lighting
“Daylighting” – using natural light instead of artificial light – is a key part of green building design, but a lot of our homes in Arizona were not built to take advantage of that natural resource. Still there are ways to let more light into your house.
Rooms at the interior core of a house as well as those that face north sometimes get short-changed. But here are options for some of the rooms where you want more light:
Changes in windows – Enlarging or adding windows to your house can be expensive, of course. But if you have older, inefficient windows that need replacing anyway, it might be a good plan to add or enlarge window space in order to lighten up your house. New, larger dual-pane windows will do a great job of keeping your house cooler in summer while brightening rooms in winter.
Removing walls and cabinets – If your house is 20 years old or so, it might be time to let the light shine in by taking down the walls that separate the kitchen from the rest of the house. An open floor plan can help spread the sunlight around. If a whole wall sounds like too much to you, you can just remove that overhanging row of cabinets that often separates the kitchen cooking area from the eating area.
Installing skylights -- Skylights are a simple way of introducing light to rooms right below roof level. Top lighting done with skylights provides a lot more light per square foot than traditional vertical windows. Skylights over stairways, for example, can bring light into the center of a house. All skylights should be carefully designed, however, to avoid heat gain in summer.
Tubular or tunnel lights – This option operates something like a light fixture, but tubular lights offer natural rather than artificial light, and you won't waste energy if you leave the "light" on. They’re a good option for dark interior spaces like bathrooms or utility rooms.