Stairwell skylight with air grills/vents question


My Dad owns a 6 family apt building in Brooklyn and it has a stairwell skylight simlilar to this:
http://www.joesnyc.streetnine.com/archives/b-c%20skylight.jpg
What I noticed is around the base of the skylight are small permanent vent grills that I guess is suppose to exhaust out air. When I called a glass company to ask why the grills were there, he said probably to let out carbon monoxide, which might be true since this building at one time had gas lighting, I really don't know. But what I wanted to know is there any reason why I can't seal these air vents with like styrofoam or similiar to prevent any cold air coming in. It's not cold in the building, I just thought this was an extra measure I can take, but I don't know if these air grills serve a purpose.
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Mikepier wrote:

Just a guess but I think they are to restrain falling material should the glass be broken. Check with your city's building department before messing with them.
--

dadiOH
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The metal grating? its to keep people equipment from ending up on the lobby floor, I thought he meant a vent, either way single pane glass roofing wastes alot of energy, its about R1
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If it was my building I would seal up the vents, build a wood frame of 1x2 pine around the bottom, below the with grate, and cover it all with Plexiglass to save on heating. Most heat loss is up, heat rises, with that uninsulated glass you are loosing hundereds of dollars a year out the roof. Or get window film, it will help a bit but plexiglass will do better
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Mikepier wrote:

Has Batman ever come crashing through your skylight?
TDD
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The picture is not the actual skylight. I do not have the grating. The grills are on perimeter base , you can only see them from the outside. I tried googling an image, but that was the closest I turned up. This might be a better picture.
http://www.bbsheetmetal.com/images/products/1152/p1152.jpg
Again, I have no grating, but the grills I have are all along the perimeter of the base. This one does not have any obviously, but it could have a vent under the cap.
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The vents might have some marginal benefit in the summer when the weather is hot, if that applies to your location. Have you checked whether there is a way to open and close them?
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No, they are very thin grill slots, built into the fixture.
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