Clerestory windows (pronounced ‘clear story’) are a very versatile way of using daylighting. Historically, clerestories were bands of narrow windows that stretched across the tops of buildings, particularly Gothic churches. Nowadays though, people tend to call any window located higher than average a 'clerestory' window. In either case, the purpose is to incorporate more windows to bring in outside light, fresh air, or both.
Clerestories are arranged in rows to create a solid band of light in a room. They are typically fixed, but can sometimes be opened to create a method of cross-ventilation. The may either be opened manually, or integrated into an automated lighting control system. Because clerestory windows are normally quite high up, privacy isn’t compromised in the same way as it might be with windows, although curtains or blinds can be fitted to control heat and light levels.
Positioning of clerestory windows
In Australia (and other places in the southern hemisphere), clerestory windows will ideally be located on the south side of your house to avoid direct sunlight penetration. Also, make sure you use double-glazed windows to avoid heat gain in the summer months and heat loss during winter.
Finally, the use of light-coloured baffles helps to distribute the light evenly and even further into your home to give warmth to rooms that otherwise wouldn’t have access to a lot of natural light.