Roof design for natural lighting

by | Mar 30, 2023 | Advice & inspiration, Roof design, ultimate guide

Looking for ways to allow natural sunlight into your new home? Skylights allow light into your home, making your home feel more welcoming and cutting down on your energy bills. Natural lighting also has a bunch of stylistic and health benefits for you and your home. So let’s shed some light on roof design for natural lighting.

What are skylights and roof windows?

Let’s start at the beginning and define exactly what skylights and roof windows are and what the difference between the two is. Though the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably by people, they’re two distinct terms. Knowing the difference will help ensure you’ll buy the best


A skylight is a roof opening covered with either translucent or transparent glass or plastic with the express purpose of allowing natural light into the home. Skylights are a common addition to commercial, residential and industrial buildings. The concept dates back to Ancient Rome and historic examples can be seen in building such as cathedrals and the Pantheon in Rome. Skylights are ideal for capturing direct sunlight.

Operatable Skylights can be opened and allows ventilation into your house. Skylights come in a range of shapes, sizes and styles.

Roof Windows.

A roof window is an outward opening window located in the, you guessed it, the roof of a building. It’s a great option if you wish to both draw sunlight deep into your home and have the option to let in the fresh air. More often than not, roof windows are part of a building’s original design, though it is possible to add them to an existing home.

Why maximising natural light should be a priority in your new home build

Natural light is a fantastic way to make your home feel bright, and spacious feel to all your living areas. It helps cut down on energy bills while making your home feel more welcoming and comfortable. For those who may resell down the line, a house that attracts natural light will likely attract a higher price.

Using skylights and roof windows to maximise natural light

Skylights, tubular skylights and roof windows can add up to three times more natural light to your home, drastically cutting down on your home’s energy bills. Sunlight has also been proven to improve mood, sleep patterns and productivity.

Some common places to install skylights include:

  • Above the open staircase as it draws sunlight deep into the whole space.
  • Over the kitchen island to allow light to brighten the workbench.
  • Over a long hallway, as this will allow light into numerous rooms.
  • brings natural light into windowless rooms.

There are other design choices you can make to maximise the natural light in your home. An open-floor home design and a lighter colour palette for your walls will help maximise daylight throughout your home.

The benefits of skylights and roof windows

Energy Efficiency (less artificial light)

When you maximise natural light, you reduce your dependence on artificial lighting which will cut done energy bills and your carbon footprint. There will always be stormy, cloudy days, but if even half the year, you don’t need to turn on your indoor lighting during the day, that’s a big saving on costs.

Improves Health and Mood

Natural light has been proven to naturally stimulate people’s moods and productivity. Vitamin D, which comes from sunlight, is essential for bone and muscle health and metabolism. Extended exposure to artificial light, particularly from computer and device screens, can cause eye strain and headaches.


Poor ventilation can cause a range of problems, from a stuffy feeling in your home to mould and mildew problems which can have negative side effects on your health. Roof windows can be opened to allow more freshness into your home.


Well-designed skylights can be a great focal point for a room, being both functional and stylistically pleasing. The natural daylight will help highlight the features of your room and provide it with a comforting feel. This works especially well in open-plan layouts and homes with a lighter colour palette.


When compared to large windows, skylights bring the benefits of direct sunlight without being as revealing to the outside world as vertical windows.

Key design considerations when using skylights and roof windows within your roof and ceiling design

When purchasing and installing roof windows and skylights, there are a few factors you need to consider to get the most from your product.

Placement and spacing

Like all good design, where you put your skylights will make all the difference in how effective they are. The key is for your skylights to let in natural light but not contribute too much-unwanted heat gain. Positioning is something you should discuss with your contractor and builder to find the best place for skylights and roof windows can be installed.

Some things to consider when choosing where to install roof windows or skylights include:

  • the sun’s path about your house.
  • your home’s orientation (ideally, it should be north-facing rooms).
  • the level of haze and air pollution in your area (more an issue in cities than rural areas).
  • weather conditions (are you have mostly sunny days or is it often overcast).
  • Your home’s roof aspect.
  • Shading from trees, other structures or anything that could affect your light.

Fire safety

The National Construction Code (NCC) that if skylights are combustible, they must not exceed 20% of the total roof area.

Thermal performance

Because skylights bring sunlight into your living space, they will provide solar heating to your home. However, especially in the Northern states, you don’t your house to overheat in the summer months. You’ll also want minimalist heat losses during winter. Discuss with your designer and builder the best location to create the most comfortable living conditions.

Energy efficiency

Using the sun to light and heat your living spaces and cross ventilation to cool your house down can drastically cut down on energy costs. However, again, placement and the material you use for your sunlight will make a huge difference. Skylights in living areas, kitchens and other commonly used places will improve your energy costs.

Get free advice from an experienced building broker

Need help with your home design? Perhaps you’re looking for the perfect builder to bring your vision to life. At Buildi, we can guide you through your entire building journey. We can help you every step of the way from due diligence, to choosing the best builder for you and ensuring your contract is met. Get in touch today to book your free, impartial consultation.

Click here to book your free consultation today!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration

Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration