From a dark home to a daylight-flooded heaven


The typical Danish single-family home of the Larsen family is located in the outskirts of Copenhagen. At first sight, it looks plain and undistinguishable from the other buildings in the neighbourhood. But once you enter through the front door, you will be surprised to find bright, daylight-flooded rooms. The family took the much-needed renovation of the roof as an opportunity to install a VELUX roof window systems and sun tunnels. This not only ensure a high quality of living condition, with lots of daylight and fresh air, but also help cut energy use. Thanks to intelligent daylight planning, the family can now mostly do without artificial lighting − even on cloudy days.

The starting point was a single-family home built in 1969 to typical Danish design: a single-storey house with a low-sloped saddle roof and an attic underneath that is too low to be used as living space. The rooms in the house used to look dark and uncomfortable. "The bathroom had only two tiny windows before the renovation and the kitchen needed artificial lighting even on bright summer days," explains Lone Larsen. "When we went inside to prepare dinner, the change from bright to dark was particularly noticeable." The hallway was dark as well, and the windowless guest bathroom lacked both daylight and ventilation. Even in the living room it was dark most of the time, despite the large west-facing double patio door. As the 40-year-old roof needed renewal, the Larsens took advantage of the opportunity to bring more daylight into their home.

Light wells allow for a view of the sky
In order to bring more light into the single-family home, the ceilings of the kitchen, dining room, both bathrooms and the entrance area have been opened through light wells towards the roof, where VELUX roof windows have been installed. The roof windows not only bring a lot of daylight into the rooms but also create a healthy indoor climate with fresh air. Thanks to the light wells, the rooms now looks more spacious.

In the kitchen, two roof windows were installed above each other in a light well in the middle of the room. Additionally, in the adjacent dining room, two large roof windows were installed over the dining table as well. Together, the new roof windows have transformed the kitchen and dining area into a bright and airy space. "The dining room has completely changed. Even though it wasn't exactly dark before, it is now much nicer after the roof windows have been installed and it looks much more spacious," says Søren Larsen who is excited about the improved quality of living. "Now we can enjoy a view of the sky and a lot of daylight whilst we have breakfast every morning."

The Larsens also benefit from the renovation of the bathrooms. In the main bathroom, two roof windows was installed above each other and now provide masses of daylight and ade-quate ventilation, which is useful after showering for example. A roof window was also in-stalled in the once windowless guest bathroom, which not only makes the room light but also provides fresh air.

To bring daylight into what was a completely dark hallway in the basement, a roof window was installed in the entrance area. This brightens up the staircase area and hallway towards the cellar and has transformed this formerly gloomy part of the house into a friendly area. The only area where no roof windows were installed is the central hallway. Instead, two VELUX sun tunnels provide the hallway with a lot of light, even on cloudy days. The daylight enters through glass panes in the roof and is redirected to the hallway through reflective tunnels. So the residents can do without artificial lighting in the daytime and instead enjoy a natural and pleasant lighting atmosphere. The sun tunnel can illuminate an area of up to nine square metres – roughly the power equivalent of a 60-Watt light bulb. "The hallway is very bright during the day now. I sometimes check whether the light is in fact turned off," says Lone with a grin. After sunset, the light bulb that is installed in the sun tunnel can be turned on – just like a normal lamp. This eliminates the need for an additional ceiling lamp.

Daylight and natural ventilation cause well-being
The installed roof windows and the brightness that comes with them give the house a special character and put the Larsens in a good mood. The roof windows help cut energy use, too, as the family needs to heat less in the winter thanks to the warming rays of the sun coming through. The rooms are flooded with daylight, so that artificial lighting is mostly unnecessary even on cloudy days, and energy used for lighting has been cut by about eight per cent. The roof windows also play an important role in the ventilation of the building. Due to the difference in temperature inside the building and outside and the differing heights of the windows, the so-called stack-effect comes into play: the warm, stale air rises and leaves through the roof windows, while fresh air flows in from below through the vertical windows. This natural ventilation is particularly efficient – it ensures a supply of fresh air and improves the air quality. "When we have a lot of guests over, and after cooking, we notice the biggest difference from how it used to be. The rooms seem much more comfortable and fresh now," says Lone.

A pleasant indoor climate due to natural ventilation and intelligent heat protection
To prevent the house from heating up on hot summer days, all windows have been equipped with exterior heat block awnings. They prevent the rays of the sun from entering through the large window panes and keep the family from sweating in the summertime. Furthermore, the VELUX Integra sensor system automatically controls all the heat protection elements. Based on the intelligent interplay of the sensors and a frequent assessment of outdoor temperature and daylight levels, the system decides whether the indoor climate benefits more from opening or closing the awnings. The system thus ensures a comfortable indoor temperature throughout the summer.

For the Larsen family The remodelling of their home was definitely worth it for the Larsen family. "It is unbelievable how daylight can transform a once dark and uncomfortable house," concludes Søren.