The Sunbender® increases heat and light gain through a skylight in the winter; and it decreases heat gain in the summer.  In the winter, a curved reflector pan directs sunlight through a  skylight into the room below to increase light and heat. In the summer a simple setting change allows the curved pan to act as a shade, reflecting sunlight back up to the sky.  This action prevents heat from reaching the skylight, while allowing daylight to enter.

Two Choices Available

There are two ways to purchase a Sunbender:

1. The Sunbender Reflector/Shade Complete comes with a mill-finish aluminum reflector pan, and the curb-mounting frame kit required for installation.

2.  The Econo Sunbender Frame Kit includes all of the above except a reflector pan. This version’s reflector pan is made of ribbed-steel, 26-gauge roofing panel and can be purchased separately.

Specifications and Prices

See Sunbender Specs & Prices

General Information

Ten percent of a roof area using skylights with Sunbender® Reflector/Shades is sufficient to supply a large share of winter heating; the same area shaded during the summer provides adequate light without overheating. The key to the Sunbender’s performance is its adjustable reflector.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:    How does the Sunbender accomplish opposite actions in different seasons?

Sunbenders are adjusted seasonally—typically once at the end of spring and once at the beginning of winter. This simple adjustment changes the height of the Sunbender’s opening. During winter, the Sunbender’s pan is open at a wide angle and acts as a reflector. During summer, the pan is open at a narrow angle to act as a shade, preventing solar radiation from entering the skylight and over-heating the space, while still allowing diffuse light to enter.

Q:    How important is the orientation of the Sunbender?

Very important. In order for the Sunbender to reflect the sun’s light and heat, the reflector pan must face south. Skylights should be oriented with their longest dimension in the east-west axis, and the shortest dimension in the north-south axis.

Q:    Can a Sunbender fit over any skylight?

In addition to standard sizes that fit most skylights, Zomeworks custom manufactures the Sunbender for virtually any size and shape of skylight. However, Sunbenders can only be used on curb-mounted skylights, with curbs securely anchored to an underlying roof member, such as a joist or truss (see below for an illustration).

Q:    What is the most efficient size of Sunbender for increasing heat gain in the winter?

The reflector pan tends to reflect most light and heat through the northernmost 1 ½ – 2 feet of the skylight. Wider skylights allow more light to enter, but may also allow more heat to escape. One bases the dimensions of a skylight on the dimensions of the space below and the desired heat and light.

Q:    What is the difference between the Sunbender Complete and the Sunbender Econo Kit?

A Sunbender Complete includes: brackets for mounting the Sunbender to the skylight curb; ribs and struts to hold the reflector pan in place; and a mill-finish, aluminum reflector pan made up of two–or three–panels, (depending on the width of the skylight).

The Sunbender Econo Kit includes all the components of the Sunbender Compete except the reflector pan. Customers choosing the Econo Kit have to option of creating their own reflector/shade, using steel roofing panels. When exercising this option, an important detail to remember is to purchase roofing panels with white paint on the underside. This white surface will reflect sunlight through the skylight, whereas a dark-colored surface will not. The hardware used to attach the brackets to the skylight curb will vary depending on the curb material and size; for this reason, Zomeworks provides guidelines for this hardware, but not the hardware itself.

Q:    Can Sunbenders withstand high wind speeds?

When properly installed on a curb-mounted skylight that is securely anchored to a roof truss or joist, Sunbenders can withstand high wind speeds. On our shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sunbenders in place for over 20 years easily handle wind speeds over 70 mph.

Q:    Do skylights increase heat loss through the roof?

Yes, more heat is lost through a skylight than through a roof. However, the gain of daylight and heat via a skylight may justify the extra heat loss. Adding a Sunbender can significantly reduce the inefficiency of a skylight because it directs significantly more heat into the room than can a skylight alone.