Rooflights, skylights, sun tubes/pipes, glass roofs and roof lanterns. They are all ways of bringing in daylight, sunlight and ventilation into buildings. They are necessary to provide natural light and ventilation rooms that do not have outside walls but are equally useful to bring a unique quality of light. A surprising amount of drama can be achieved with quite modest top lighting. The photo to the right shows how a basic velux rooflight can be installed into a pitched roof with boxing around it to create a form of light well or tunnel. The flat ceiling was retained and the rooflight brings in lots of daylight into an otherwise drab corridor. A more dramatic way of incorporating rooflights into a space is by opening up the ceiling and vaulting the space so that the ceiling is sloped. This is obviously only possible on upper storeys or single storey extensions. If there is space within the plan on a two storey building, long reflective tubes can be built from an upper storey down to a ground floor bringing all the benefits of natural light into this dark lower space. These don’t have the advantage of building a boxed out tunnel, being able to open the rooflight – either manually or electrically for ventilation. A whole range of sizes are available from very small sizes that fit within existing rafter spaces right up to huge 2m units. These will need significant structural support owing to their weight especially if an opening type. Rooflights can generally be installed under Permitted Development rights, provided they meet certain criteria and the building is not Listed or on designated land (Conservation Area, National Park, etc) but you should make checks prior to installation. Some rooflights are possible to install flush with a slate or tiled roof covering, as the photo on the right shows. These are generally preferred for conservation projects and Listed Buildings as the rooflines are less disturbed.