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Image Credit
Marvin Awaken Skylight, photos courtesy of Marvin

Skylights have traditionally been simple, ceiling-mounted window fixtures. Although they offer privacy while providing natural light, they do have their drawbacks. However, that’s about to change — a new generation of skylights exists with innovative technology that transforms them into controllable devices with built-in lighting and ventilation capabilities.

“One of the biggest complaints about skylights has been that they create a ‘black hole’ at night and take up real estate that could otherwise be occupied by a light fixture,” says Erin Hermann, Marvin Senior Product Manager. “Marvin’s Awaken® skylight offers an operable screen and adjustable LED illumination, features unique to Marvin as the first window and door manufacturer to offer tunable lighting settings.”

These operating capabilities are dramatically changing the way that builders and architects can use skylights in their projects, with more possibilities available now than before.

Awaken Skylight Bathroom Rendering
Marvin Awaken is the first skylight to offer built-in, adjustable lighting that mimics natural hues to create the precise light and mood you want no matter the weather conditions or time of day.

Enhanced Lighting Features

An operating skylight enhances the lighting of interior spaces. “Even a room with other windows and exterior doors may be getting less exposure at certain times of the day,” says Hermann. “Skylights compensate, providing additional sunlight during those hours. In fact, the Marvin Awaken Skylight is the largest operating skylight on the market,” she adds. 

However, even on an overcast day or during nighttime hours, a modern skylight can provide tunable illumination. This is made possible by adjustable, dimmable LED lighting mounted into the frame of the fixture. The brightness and coloring of the lighting can be adjusted to mimic natural light as it would be experienced throughout the day. 

“This supports the body’s natural circadian rhythms, and can even extend the day in the wintertime or on cloudy days when natural light is sparse,” notes Hermann. The homeowner is also able to adjust the lighting to match the tone and brightness of the existing lighting in the home.

Awaken Skylight Kitchen Rendering
Awaken has dimmable LED lights that are tunable from 2200k (comparable to light at sunrise/sunset) to 5500k (comparable to the sun at noon).

Ventilation, Sustainability, and Durability

The most sophisticated skylights also provide ventilation. The Awaken skylight provides unique parallel projection venting built into the frame on all four sides rather than opening by way of a hinge vent. That allows for better air circulation and unobstructed views of the outdoors, while keeping out insects and debris. If the built-in sensor detects precipitation, this smart skylight will close itself automatically. 

High-end skylights also contain air sensors that will alert the homeowner when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are detected, so the window can be closed to prevent the intake of pollutants.

UV-resistant shades can also be built into the frame — either room-darkening or light-filtering — which can be closed during particularly bright days to block the sun’s rays.

In addition, Ultrex® fiberglass construction of the skylight requires low maintenance, and the glass panels should be double-glazed for maximum protection. For example, the Awaken skylight consists of an exterior tempered glass panel and a laminated interior panel to protect against fracturing if there’s an impact by a tree limb or other falling object. A finish like Awaken’s Low E3 coating also helps manage how much heat radiation is admitted into the home or reflected away, which can reduce heating and cooling costs.

There’s an App for That

Remarkably, all of the features on the Marvin Awaken skylight can be operated with home automation systems, voice assistants, the Marvin home app, or Marvin Awaken remote controls. That provides effortless functionality, which can be an appealing convenience for a prospective homebuyer.

Ease of use combined with operating skylights’ advanced features make them ideal additions to kitchens, bedrooms, closets, and bathrooms — areas that would not otherwise get much natural light or fresh air, notes Hermann. “They also blend well with many architectural styles, ranging from traditional to contemporary or modern,” she adds.

The expansive sizes now available for this skylight, its well-designed ventilation and sustainability features, and adjustable, integrated LED lighting permit the architect or builder to completely rethink the lighting and airflow in a space by replacing a traditional light fixture or window with a skylight — all controlled by voice or the touch of a button.