Sustainability
Two insulated skylights with automatic ventilation were installed at Yellow Springs High School last month. Here contractors guide the skylight, manufactured at Millworks, into the building's third floor. (Submitted photo by Ted Donnell)

Contractors guide an insulated skylight with automatic ventilation, manufactured at Millworks, into the third floor of the Yellow Springs High School. (Submitted photo by Ted Donnell)

YS team innovates efficient skylight

While many skylights waste energy, two local building experts have designed a skylight that actually saves energy by ventilating, providing daylight and generating solar power. The patent is pending but the results are already clear at Yellow Springs High School, where two skylights were installed last month.

Local architect Ted Donnell and Doug Eastham of SageOne Construction have partnered to produce the prototypes, currently manufactured at Millworks in Yellow Springs. In addition to the high school, one skylight was installed recently at the Greene County Career Center, where Donnell has been leading an energy-efficiency upgrade.

 

From the roof of the Greene County Career Center, Donnell stands before a skylight still under construction. This model, which does not have ventilation, costs $5,000. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

From the roof of the Greene County Career Center, Donnell stands before a skylight still under construction. This model, which does not have ventilation, costs $5,000. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

 

In contrast to the typical school building paradigm of “kids in  box,” Donnell believes natural light is important for students.

“I have definite stats that say with fact that daylight contributes to the health and well-being of the students,” Donnell said.

The skylight, called a Sun Vent, saves energy three ways. It provides daylight as an alternative to artificial light, cutting lighting loads. It brings drafts into the building with its automatic windows, reducing air conditioning needs. And, when integrated with a solar panel and LED light, can even provide lighting at night. Furthermore, being heavily insulated reduces the skylight’s heat loss during winter months.

 

A skylight being installed at the high school. (Submitted photo by Ted Donnell)

A skylight being installed at the high school. (Submitted photo by Ted Donnell)

 

The model at the high school, which has automatic windows but not solar capabilities, will reduce the lighting demand on the building’s third floor by 50 percent, according to Donnell. And with the cooling drafts, students are already feeling the difference, Donnell said.

For more information on the Greene County Career Center upgrades, see the Sept. 23 issue of the YS News.

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