Daylighting from the Fifth Wall with Mike Chance of Velux

A Green Gab Podcast – Recorded Live at the St. Louis Home & Garden Showdaylighting fifth wall mike chance velux green gab podcast

Now that it’s springtime, make the most of the sun by daylighting your home. Mike Chance of Velux Skylights has been a champion of daylighting for 20 years. Velux Skylights has been around since 1941 when Villum Kann Rasmussen started his firm V. Kann Rassmussen & Co in wartime Copenhagen, Denmark. “One of his first commissions was to supply roof windows to a number of school buildings, in which loft space was being converted into classrooms. The shortage of materials during the war led Villum to come up with an idea that would transform those dark empty attics into bright living spaces – full of daylight and fresh air,” He had an idea that he could make a roof window better than any vertical window out there and he found a way to invent the world’s most operable roof window.

daylighting mike chance velux skylights

Bringing Light From Above

Villum studied different ways of bringing in light and found that bringing in light from above is the absolute best way. Bringing light in vertically results in about 15-20% daylight through that window on the wall. With a roof window, bringing light in from above results in about 80% daylight. “The fifth wall is the undecorated wall which is really the ceiling.” The company started with an operable roof window. Yet many people worried with putting a hole in the roof. Holes are already cut in walls and roofs and this is no different. Where there is a chimney, flue, or pipe there is a hole. Skylights are just one more.

With Velux Skylights flashing systems, their skylights are warrantied not to leak for 10 years.

Rewind thirty years to 1980 when oil prices were high, the energy crunch was here, and solar was becoming big. Wanting to bring light into homes and buildings, builders used pieces of plexiglass or the plastic bubble for an inexpensive way to bring in daylight. While skylights were being used back in the 1970s and 1980s, before Velux came to America in 1975, the choice was basically a plastic skylight. If no one used plexiglass for a wall window, why do it on the roof?

Velux makes a tempered glass laminated with a low-e coating for a very durable material. Low-e glass is an industry standard but the trick is to bring in light but not heat. That’s where the low-e component comes in. Low-e glass is a coated glass which the light come in but blocks the UV’s and the IRA’s from the sun to keep out the extra heat.

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More about Mike and His Daylighting Work at Velux

Before working with Velux, Mike worked for a building material supplier and through selling building materials he started selling Velux. He fell in love with the product so much he decided to get into the business and 20 years later he’s still there! His role is to produce daylight from above and he wants more people to experience the benefits of daylight and ventilation – better living, better daylight which means better health and environment. It’s really about the feeling a person has in a well-lit environment. People often consider the appearance of the home rather than the health and performance factors of the home.

Controlling Light and Heat in a Home

With a skylight, or a “hole in the roof,” there is often a question about what to do when there is too much light coming in – from a bright full moon or when the sun is directly overhead. Velux Skylights offer solar-powered remote-control blinds to control the light coming in. For those who are not a morning person, the blinds can be programed to close at 6 or 7 in the morning to not wake up with the sun. On the other hand, there are proven studies that waking up to sunlight is the best way to reset your body clock and that’s yet another benefit of skylights. In any home, it should be working for the people living in it rather than the other way around.

People often think skylights are premium options or just accessories for their home, when skylights really should be standard. With skylights providing double the amount of light of a wall window, wouldn’t the choice be a skylight over the window in the wall? This is not saying to get rid of windows in walls, yet rather to achieve a nice balance. That balance is called the square foot floor to glass ratio. If a home has a lot of windows, the square foot floor glass ratio may be about 30 percent. Yet, that’s a lot of glass and glass can bring in heat. If the number of windows in a wall are reduced and just a few skylights are added, there is a better balance of light and the home is more energy efficient. “More light, less glass.”

Think outside the box and imagine what a home could really deliver. Think about the spaces and what areas of a home need daylight improvement. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a room and not have to turn the light on during the day?

Visit the Green Gab Facebook page to see the FB Live Recording with Mike Chance, Velux


Velux Skylight

Velux Venting Skylight


Daylight and Health, Velux

Why Skylights? Velux

The Fifth Wall, Velux

Benefits of Natural Light, Architectural Lighting

For the Homeowner, Daylighting Collaborative

30 percent federal tax credit for energy efficiency improvements, Velux

Positive Energy: Maison Air et Lumiere, a demo home, Velux

Basic Book on Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate, Velux

Glossary of Skylight Terms, Velux

Every week on iTunes and on the Green Gab Podcast, get the gab with us as we share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life! Get in on the gab for why green matters – to you, your family and friends and your community.
Get Marla’s book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better HomeFor more information about the show, Marla at or Tony at tpratte@thesoundroom.comI’d love to speak at your next event – for ideas check out my speaking information. Thank you and have a blessed day.  
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