With property prices still sky high and land hard to come by, we are now utilising every redundant space in our houses to increase living areas. Also, we have quickly recognised the value in the renovation of redundant churches, farm buildings and service buildings into residential or office quarters. Adapting these historic buildings or having a loft conversion can be a sensitive issue, especially if the building is historic. Any alterations must be in keeping with the original architecture which could present a problem when introducing natural light into a building that was never intended for domestic purposes.
However, the rooflight is an ingenious concept that introduces natural light into a building discretely but effectively. They provide an even distribution of light to large low-level structures and can illuminate the dark areas in a room that windows could never reach. It’s uncanny that rooflights now provide an ideal design solution for introducing light into a barn, as this was the Victorians original intention. Rooflights, in their most primitive form were a popular way to introduce light into agricultural buildings during the 18th century.
Agricultural or Domestic
Therefore, we have gone full circle as rooflights are again providing a design solution for barn and other agricultural conversions but this time around have a high specification glazing to make them incredibly energy efficient. Invariably, agricultural buildings are situated in conservation areas and are often listed. Therefore, if a rooflight is going to be introduced it has to meet the conservation specifications of that particular area or type of building. Whilst a domestic conversion is not always suitable for old farm buildings it may be the only way to secure an old barn’s future. Ensuring the detail of the conversion work is sympathetic will be crucial to the scheme’s success. Sympathetic detailing is also likely to be a condition of consent, if the barn is listed or in a conservation area. New openings should generally be kept to a minimum and should be of a simple form that respects the farm building’s character. If rooflights are needed the Local Planning Authority will normally require a flush-fitting type.
In this situation a conservation rooflight would be required as they have been especially designed with a low profile. This means the rooflight will sit flush and not detract from the character of the building. In these cases steel conservation rooflights are ideal as they are made specifically to provide slender sections which are unobtrusive. It is advisable to contact your Local Conservation Officer or the Building Control Department to find out what is acceptable before going ahead with any conversation as it will need to be overseen if the building is of a sensitive nature.
High Specification Rooflights
Although conservation rooflight authentically replicate a traditional Victorian design for installation in period properties, their low profile design and fine lines of steel have infinite design possibilities with modern day architecture. Lumen Heritage rooflights also benefit from having a high specification of glazing including self-cleaning glass.
Provided rooflights are the right size and use a material sympathetic to the building architecture they can only increase in popularity. Not only do they provide a solution to lighting up dark areas, rooflights are energy efficient due to the amount of natural light they let in which in turn will reduce energy costs. Last but not least there is evidence to prove that brain functions respond better to natural light!