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FAQs from the Skylight Industry Association

September 9th, 2014

Below please find some frequently asked questions that we are placing here for your information – taken from the Skylight Industry Association’s website – www.SIAI.com.au

Q1. Is there an Australian Standard for Skylights?

A1.YES.AS4285 is the Australian Standard for Skylights. The SIA are very proud of the fact that it was at their instigation that Standards Australia endorsed writing a standard for Skylights that saw AS4285 initially published in 1995, and then updated in 2007.

Q2. Do SIA Members adopt Australian Standard AS4285 -2007: Skylights?

A2. YES. Compliance with AS4285 is a requirement for membership of the SIA, which gives Consumers the confidence the products not only meet material requirements, but performance testing as well.

Q3. Where is the SIA with respect to Energy Ratings for Skylights?

A3.The SIA together with the Australian Window Association (AWA) and the Australian Fenestration Rating Council (AFRC) truly leads the world with the ground breaking Energy Rating System WERSfs for complete Skylight Systems. Developed around the Window Energy Rating Scheme (WERS) for windows, WERSfs (Window Energy Rating Scheme for Skylights) was launched in April 2014 and now SIA Members are able to provide consumers the third party certified confidence that their natural lighting needs can be designed and installed without compromising the energy efficiency of the building envelope.

Q4. Will my skylight have a Warranty?

A4. YES. SIA Members are very aware of the Federal Government’s Warranty provisions under the legislative control of the ACCC. The SIA recommends that its Members adopt these strict guidelines and offer consumers a Ten (10) Year Warranty. However, the warranty period provided for any skylight will be determined by the manufacturer – so ask for warranty clarification before purchasing. Consumers should also take comfort in the strict code of ethics that SIA members adhere to. Should any dispute arise the SIA will assist a resolution between the SIA member & the consumer.

Q5. Will my Skylight Leak?

A5.Skylights are manufactured not to leak however a poorly installed skylight may leak just like any poorly installed product that requires roof penetration and is not installed properly by a qualified tradesperson. SIA members Skylights are manufactured to AS4285 and must pass stringent testing for resistance to concentrated loads, resistance to wind pressures and water tightness. These tests coupled with the installation to Manufacturer’s Instructions will ensure that your skylight does not leak. Having a Skylight installed by an SIA Member gives the purchaser further confidence that the skylight will not leak because the installer is a specialist and fully trained. As Consumer Laws vary from State to State feel free to check with the supplier if it is a requirement for Installers to be Licenced in your State

 Q6. What is the best Shape/Size for a Skylight?

A6.There are three types of skylight (also called rooflights) the roof window, the tubular skylight (also called tubular daylighting device or TDD) & the traditional square or rectangular Skylight. There really is no best “shape or size”, simply because with every skylight option the room size, roof pitch, roof orientation and personal preference all need to be considered. It is rarely a case of one size fits all because every skylight installation has different requirements and customers have different priorities in terms of the way that they want their skylight to perform. Most SIA Members will have more than one option to suit your particular daylighting requirements, so simply talk it over with your friendly SIA member.

 Q7. How important is the Skylight ‘light shaft’?

A7. The Skylight ‘light well’ a.k.a. light duct or light shaft, is a very important factor in the skylight system design. It carries the light to the room below & if poorly designed can be the cause of light loss and an unsatisfactory installation. Lightwells can usediffuse reflective white plaster or MDF, reflective board material, flexible duct, (round, rectangle or square) or highly specular reflective surfaces. Skylight lightwells are generally installed straight but can be splayed to ensure maximum spread of light for dramatic effect when installing a skylight or roof window. Flexible duct must be installed taut to ensure optimum light throughput & skylight performance. Bends are to be avoided but use of highly specular reflective tubular skylight light shafts may assist with difficult skylight installations.

 Q8. Is a Ceiling Diffuser necessary?

A8.When a skylight uses a plaster/MDF lined and painted light shaft a ceiling diffuser is usually not installed as the light shaft is a design feature of the installation. However, when using other forms of light shafts a ceiling trim/frame and diffuser is desirable to enhance the overall finish and provide a softer diffused light. Tubular skylights (TDD’s)will always have a diffuser to assist the spread of light and Roof Windows would seldom be installed with a diffuser.

 Q9. Will heat come through my Skylight?

A9.The simple answer is that where light is brought into a building so is some heat as they are both part of the solar spectrum. In practice, the actual energy burden imposed by a skylight on a house is rarely more than a few percent. This is because they are usually only a few percent of the floor area, compared with 20 – 30% for typical windows. Skylights offer excellent daylighting and have the potential to displace much electric lighting, thus saving on lighting and potentially, cooling energy. Skylights need to be selected carefully to prevent undue heat loss or heat gain.

Some skylights are double glazed, low e glass, translucent polymers, multicell polymer & most company’s offer a range of solar control accessories should they be needed. Some skylight products from SIA Members now come with the new WERSfS Energy Rating that allow consumers to compare heat gain OR heat loss, something often not considered in a poor skylight system design. Skylights accredited under the WERSfs system will have a U value and SHGC value assigned to them which will assist you with decision making if heat gain or heat loss is a primary consideration for you. The skylight market will now see more and more SIA members offering WERSfS rated product toconsumers.

 Q10. What is my best option for a good daylighting solution?

A10. The answer to this question is to ensure that you engage an SIA Member(s) to assist with reviewing your requirement and providing all available options including design if required. This process is important even if the requirement be small, large, single or multiple installations. SIA members use AS4285 Tested products, and adhere to a strict Code of Conduct and Ethics, to advance the energy efficient use of Skylights. As has been proven in many studies, natural Daylight is good for you and your family in many ways and best of all it is FREE, so why not use it to your benefit?