Skylights and UV: How Modern Skylights Make UV Radiation a Non-Issue

How Modern Skylights Make UV Radiation a Non-IssueEvery month, thousands of homes and businesses switch from artificial lighting to natural daylighting systems. This process isn’t always instant – many homeowners and business owners have questions and concerns about natural lighting.

One of the most common questions of homeowners and business owners is whether ultra-violet (UV) light and radiation is an issue with modern daylighting systems. UV is, of course, a major source of sun damage to skin, with excessive exposure to ultra-violet radiation causing sunburn and, over time, severe issues like skin cancer.

In this guide, we would like to answer this question and explain how most modern skylights and daylighting systems use special treatments, including our proprietary Coollite glazing, to block ultra-violet light and radiation.

What are the dangers of UV radiation?

Have you ever spent too long in the sun and woken up the next day feeling burned and uncomfortable? Overexposure to UV radiation can cause skin damage and, for people with light skin, painful and potentially dangerous sunburn.

Our bodies absorb UV radiation whenever they’re exposed to sunlight. A walk in the park on a sunny afternoon or a day at the beach can both lead to UV exposure, which is why we use sunblock, hats and sunglasses to reduce our overall exposure.

Over time, repeated excessive sunburn from UV exposure can lead to skin damage and, in severe cases, skin cancer. Because of this, it’s best to limit UV exposure to a healthy amount.

It’s worth noting that UV radiation isn’t always bad for you. Limited exposure to UV radiation (for example, a short walk on a sunny day) produces Vitamin D – a useful vitamin that strengthens your body’s immune system and fights against illnesses.

Does glass protect you from UV radiation?

There are several types of UV radiation. The two most well-known types of radiation are UVA and UVB. UVA radiation is the type of radiation you’re exposed to when you visit a tanning. It deeply penetrates the skin and causes sunburn and skin damage.

UVB, on the other hand, is a different form of UV radiation. Like UVA radiation, it can penetrate the skin (albeit not as deeply as UVA radiation) and result in sunburn and, in severe cases, skin damage and even skin cancer.

Sunscreen and other protective products block UVB radiation from penetrating our skin and causing damage. Standard glass windows also block UVB radiation, which is why you don’t feel sunburned after spending the day in a bright office building.

However, normal glass doesn’t block all UVA radiation. Although modern buildings use treated glass that blocks all UV radiation, many old buildings (particularly older homes) use normal glass that allows UVA radiation to pass through.

How does Coollite protect you from UV radiation?

Although normal glass only fully protects you from one form of UV radiation, many modern glazing materials block both UVB and UVA radiation. Our Coollite material, for example, blocks 99.9% of UV radiation to keep your environment safer.

This means that you can enjoy all of the benefits of natural light – from comfort and visibility to reduced fatigue and increased workplace productivity – with none of the health and wellness dangers.

In addition to blocking 99.9% of UV radiation, our Coollite proprietary glazing also blocks 85% of infrared light. Both of these potentially dangerous forms of radiation are blocked with only a minimal negative effect on visible light transmission.

Where should Coollite glazing be applied?

While Coollite can be applied to any glazing configuration, not all surfaces need to be treated to prevent UV and IR radiation light. After all, not all windows receive a large amount of sunlight, with many installed in areas that face away from the sun.

Generally speaking, it’s best to install Coollite and other protective glazing solutions on windows and skylights that receive lots of sunlight, including:

  • Large ceiling skylights and daylighting systems
  • Windows with direct sunlight in the morning and afternoon
  • Glass doors subject to direct sunlight throughout the day
  • Large windows and skylights in frequently used spaces

As glazing is inexpensive and the benefits are numerous, glazing all skylights and windows is also a cost-effective strategy for reducing UV radiation in your office, home or workplace.

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