As can be seen from the illustrations above, it is the barrel vault skylight which proves to be the most economical solution. After a careful calculation we arrive at the conclusion that, for the same area of glazing, the barrel vault skylight uses 29% less polycarbonate than ridge skylight and 44% less than half-round skylight. One important issue taken into account in choosing the right skylight shape is its cost, related to the amount of materials used. But the main criteria are the illumination and heat losses. Every skylight designer tries to achieve the lowest heat transfer coefficient (U). There is a big difference between the U=2,4 for a skylight and the U=0,5 of a rooftop for an industrial building, so it is inevitable that the construction of a skylight generates heat losses. Barrel vault skylights allow to reduce these losses because their surface of cooling is 29% and 44% smaller than that of ridge and half-round skylights respectively. The arched shape also minimizes snow retention during winter.
Our long-term experience tells us that skylights are the best solution for an optimal connection of low costs of exploitation and fully functional illumination of the interior.
There is a common, though misleading opinion that it is only the thickness of a polycarbonate sheet and the number of cells that influences the amount of heat losses generated by a skylight. In fact, the shape of a skylight is equally important. In order to illustrate the comparison between the three most common skylight shapes, we assumed that the roof area they cover is 3m x 10m in dimension and the material used for their construction is 10mm-thick three layer cellular polycarbonate for which the U=2,5 W/m2K. The results of our analysis are shown the table below
|Type of skylight||Top area of the skylight||Side frames area||Skylight area in total||Actual U parameter for 1 m2 of skylight in graphical projection|
|Barrel vault skylight||33,90 m2||1,20 m2||35,10 m2||2,92 W/m2K|
|Ridge skylight||42,60 m2||4,50 m2||47,10 m2||3,92 W/m2K|
|Half-round skylight||47,10 m2||7,06 m2||54,16 m2||4,51 W/m2K|
|Polycarbonate sheets area||Weight of profiles||Installation time|
|Barrel vault skylight||35,1 m2||84 kg||15 hrs|
|Ridge skylight||47,1 m2||205 kg||37 hrs|
|Half-round skylight||54,16 m2||206 kg||48 hrs|