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Sunlight Exposure and Precautions

Summer sunshine is always welcome after long Wisconsin winters, and while health benefits abound from sun exposure, prolonged unprotected exposure can have detrimental effects on our personal health as well as the health of our home. When building a custom luxury home, careful consideration is given by the design team to maximize the natural lighting in certain living spaces. Usually the kitchen, main entertaining spaces and bedrooms are the desired spaces for bright lights and maximum views. In addition to finding opportunities to allow the most sunlight into the home’s living space, it is equally important to protect the home and all of the meticulously thought out craftsmanship, furnishings and artwork from potentially adverse effects of that sought after natural lighting.

One of the most obvious effects of prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is fading and discoloration, especially of woods and fabrics as it pertains to flooring, cabinetry, furniture, carpets and other carefully planned design elements of a luxury home. Today there is a wide variety of options for homeowners to protect their investment without compromising the natural lighting or the desired views from their dream home. It’s all about the windows, whether treating the windows themselves to offer protection from the Sun’s damaging UV rays, or choosing window shades and coverings that are both decorative and functional.

Window Glass Protection:

Homeowners have the option to invest in window glass that has protective barriers to the sun’s UV rays. While clear single pane glass reflects about 25% of the sun’s UV radiation, insulating glass protects up to 40% and low E-coated glass provides additional protection to nearly 75%.

Currently there are also many options to invest in an additional film covering for windows that offer greater protection. These films are generally a transparent plastic that are virtually invisible and may block up to 99% of UV radiation. They effectively filter the sunlight to allow the desired natural lighting while blocking harmful UV radiation.

And, when it comes to the comfort level of a luxury home, a substandard window quality affects the ability to adequately and efficiently cool a room, particularly during the summer months.

Window Treatments:

Ideally, window treatments should be both decorative and functional, complementing the room’s décor, framing the windows and views, and allowing for adequate protection when desired. However, most homeowners only cover their windows at night as a privacy measure; thus, their potential value as a sun damage protector is not used.

Here is where retractable sunshades can be of value, providing additional protection to the home from uncomfortable brightness and heat, particularly in window intensive rooms, without compromising the view. Options for solar screen shades today offer excellent views through fabrics combined with excellence in levels of solar performance and protection.

Last but not least, direct sunlight can affect the health of its homeowners. The same UV rays that can alter the appearance of your home’s furnishings and woodwork can damage the eyes and skin, significantly contribute to premature aging, and lead to skin cancer. The dog days of summer are the perfect reminder for how the desired glow of sunlight has a dark side!

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