“Fenestration systems are one of the most important elements within a building’s envelope design and there’s much to consider to ensure that the chosen products perform as well as they look, particularly in terms of meeting the required energy-efficiencies targets.
Choosing the frame material is often the first step but the style, configuration and positioning of windows can also have a huge impact on the operational and maintenance costs of the building.
Aluminium is a popular framing material for fenestration systems thanks to its inherent strength, which enables attractive slim sightlines to be achieved as larger spans of glazing can be accommodated in much narrower frames.
Endlessly recyclable, aluminium systems also have strong environmental credentials and the new generation of windows that can offer ultra low U-values make them ideally suited to meeting a range of aesthetic, performance and energy-efficiency targets.
These benefits can be further enhanced through the careful consideration of the positioning and opening style of the window units, but what should specifiers look for?
Casement style windows have enduring appeal and are appropriate for use on a wide selection of projects. As casement windows open outwards and can be either side or top hung to create an awning window, they achieve good levels of daylighting and ventilation.
However, not all aluminium casement windows were created equal and it’s always worth looking to combine this classic style with a high-performance thermal break.
For example, Senior’s patented PURe® aluminium windows have been specifically developed to achieve exceptionally low U-values and to significantly reduce the amount of heat loss.
The use of such systems can open up new design possibilities in new build schemes by enabling radiators to be moved away from their conventional positioning near the windows.
A major benefit of aluminium windows is their durability and the fact that they are very easy to maintain. Windows by their very nature however require regular cleaning and this can often prove challenging on projects that have large areas of glazing or are multiple storeys.
The safest and most effective way to clean windows on this scale is to employ the services of a professional contractor who can use specialist working at height equipment, but choosing a style of window that can also been cleaned from the inside of a building is also a wise move.
For commercial buildings where access to the exterior façade is difficult, overswing style windows are ideal as they are fully revisable.
This enables the outside of the glass and frame to be cleaned from the inside, providing a safe and convenient way to reduce costs and extend maintenance cycles.
Residential projects can also benefit from tilt and turn windows which combine the look of a traditional casement window with a modern opening style that can be operated in two ways – they can be tilted open inwards from the top for ventilation, or the turn function can be used to open the window inwards from the side.
Another key consideration for window specification is the safety of the building’s occupants. As well as the inward opening design of tilt and turn windows making them easy to clean, the tilt feature also provides ventilation with restricted access to prevent people, children in particular, from climbing out – making this style of window particularly useful for high-rise residential schemes.
To meet the specific challenges of the commercial sector, especially education and healthcare projects, parallel push style windows are also a great solution.
With hinges on all sides of the frame, this type of window can be easily pushed open and yet will remain parallel to the wall.
This enables rooms to be safely ventilated, with the limited opening helping to reduce the risk of falls from the window. Aesthetically, the use of push parallel style windows can also help to create a more uniform façade.
With so many different window styles to choose from, the best way to ensure best value and best performance is to work closely with your chosen fenestration systems manufacturer at the earliest opportunity.
For our part, our team of architectural advisors can provide vital technical support, including thermal calculations, and can also assist with the overall design of the fenestration package to ensure that the individual elements work in harmony with the wider building envelope.”
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