Your windows to the world...

DESIGN

Your windows to the world...

Providing views, day-lighting, ventilation and even solar heating in winter, windows play a very important role in making a house look and feel as it does. But, when designing the house, we bestow only a cursory glance at window design. So, how do you choose the ideal window design? 

Firstly, the window design should be in consonance with the overall design of your house. Choose from among casement, double-hung or slider windows such that they maximise views and natural light. How much of maintenance effort are you prepared to put in? For instance, windows with wood exterior look great, but only frequent repairs retain the aesthetics.  

Next, your budget. Aluminium doors and windows with single pane glass are money-savers. Choose a window design that optimises usage of heating and lighting devices.

Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane ones with high performance glass will help reflect heat back into the room during winter, thereby easing the burden on heating devices. Colder regions prefer windows with low emissivity (low-e) coatings on the glass to reduce heat loss. Their higher installation cost is at least partly off-set by the reduced expenditure on heating and cooling devices. For, smaller and less expensive equipment will suffice then.

During winter, close your curtains/shades at night when it gets colder. Open them during the day. Keep windows clean to allow more sunlight inside. During summer, using white window shades, drapes or blinds reflects heat away from the house.

Keep curtains of windows inviting intense sunlight closed during the day. Install awnings to block sunlight or use sun-control or other reflective films on the glass. If the house’s position is such that it allows too much sunlight inside, use ‘low-e’ glass to reflect away most of the harsh UV sun rays.

Traditional window features serve both aesthetic and utility purposes. Nevertheless, modern designs also accommodate useful traditional elements. Operable shutters can be replaced with sliding screens without losing security and sun-shading advantages.

Double-hung windows maximise ventilation. But, you needn’t adhere to the traditional proportions and installation. A modern touch can be lent. Clean lines, minimalist design and modern sensibilities can coexist with green glazing.

When constructing a new house, usually the same window-design is repeated all over the house. But, by using different designs in different spots of the house, you can manipulate heat retention/loss. Deep overhangs on windows on sides allowing more of the low winter sun inside enable passive heating and shield the room from the high summer sun. On the other side of the house that receives lesser sunlight, small and high windows ensure maximum cross-ventilation and minimise heat loss.   

Today, new window technologies are available in the market. A variety of coatings are available for glazing materials, i.e., the window’s glass portion. Frames are available in aluminium, wood, vinyl, fibre glass or even combinations of these materials. So, your choice ultimately depends on your main objective – aesthetics, economy, utility or energy-saving.  

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