October 1, 2018

Eneref Institute examines how solar powered venting skylights bring in fresh air and reduce the HVAC load.

“It’s worth getting solar-powered skylights for the rebate alone.” 

Venting Skylights Bring the Outdoors Inside for Lake Michigan Home

The single-story house, with 240 feet of prime footage facing Lake Michigan, was originally built in 1956 to serve as a goose hunting cabin.

Choosing to add on to the existing structure rather than demolish and rebuild, the homeowners began extensive modifications and additions soon after purchasing the home.

The renovations included converting an existing 30’ by 15’ patio into an atrium. While the new atrium closed in the patio, the homeowner wanted to maintain an open-air feel. This was achieved by incorporating skylights with an open ventilation system to take advantage of the airflow of the lakefront location.

“It was an outdoor patio prior to the project,” explains Jim Marriott, architect for the project. “We made a permanent structure out of it, but kept the same feel of the house.”

The homeowner added that since the view of the lake “is phenomenal,” they wanted the design of the atrium space to focus on the waterfront.

“The homeowner wanted an indoor-to-outdoor transition space, with natural daylight but environmentally controlled,” said Marriott.

The homeowner added, “Inviting all the light in is like being part of the outside.”

The house sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan in Belgium, Wisconsin, an area that draws visitors from Milwaukee and Chicago. The beautiful sandy beaches afford the lakeside homes an unmatched view of the birds, trees and beach.

“It’s very open and uncongested,” said the homeowner.


The homeowner said, “Everybody comments on it because of the openness and the daylight. And when the moon’s just in the right spot—it’s great.”

Advocacy Report, Right to Daylight