Building new or renovating, the choice of windows is one of those decisions that can keep you up at night.
The economy of PVC, the prestige and performance of AluClad or the heritage beauty of wood? Double or triple glazing? Regardless of the framing material or where you place the opening sections, energy efficiency should be your primary concern above all else with Low-E glass, warm edge technology and aluminum filled units. argon, but of course there is more.
U-values and G-values (solar gain) are two details you should ask your supplier upfront. With the right glass, the right frame and, above all, the right installation, it is possible to achieve U-values up to 70% higher than the recommended standard according to building regulations. As the thermal performance of the window increases, the U (watts of heat lost per m² expressed in W/m²) is a decreasing number. Sash, sash, swing or slide – know your U-values.
Something that’s either rushed into a premeditated conclusion or just pushed out of sight until specs and timings are tweaked is color – exterior and interior color. Even where design is done and dusted, frame color is a curiously powerful architectural element of your window choice, whether you’re looking for sashes, French casements, or a sleek, flimsy contemporary frame.
Today, dark gray or black is not – in almost all cases – a fashionable color or a huge, wonky risk. Architect Dermot Bannon regularly causes a watery-eyed outcry from those mesmerized customers on RTÉ’s Room To Improve as he regularly switches to black AluClad windows and patio doors for his rural designs. In the end, the final finish says it all.
Inside, dark choices are a whole different story, as those windows that stare at the contrast of sunlight will look even darker and dull the view if you have glazing bars or casement openings. They can pick up on other elements of the room, for example the dark cabinets in your kitchen – often fantastic. For small rooms, white windows, like white walls, will disperse light and amplify the space.