The Future

The design of 'the window' for a new building is of the first importance, not only because it will determine the appearance of the building, which it does, but because it is being asked to take a major role in the control of the building environment. It will be seen in the Case Studies to follow later in the book, that with the large increase in 'passive' buildings, it is the window which is at the leading edge of new development, development of which is as yet far from exhausted.

solar gain and glare.

solar gain and glare.

Photograph of typical light-pipe installation seen from inside the building

Colt 'Interactive' window

To quote but one example of leading edge technology; a window designed by the architects Studio E. and developed to a practical stage by a manufacturer (Colt) as the 'interactive' window, shows an integrated approach to the environmental control of a building. It is of particular interest in that it does not demand the need for high tech glass solutions, using low-cost clear window glass.

The window is designed with the following criteria in mind:

1. The provision of daylight

2. To solve the problem of mechanically controlled building ventilation without creating draughts

3. To cater for adequate thermal insulation

4. To provide adequate sound insulation for normal circumstances.

5. To control solar gain and diminish sun and sky glare.

The features of the window allow individual control by occupants, accepted as an important characteristic in user satisfaction as is also the provision of a view, and can be tailored to suit individual environmental requirements. This is one example of the way in which industry is being led by architects to satisfy the needs of the environment.

Finally to quote from conclusions made at a conference at the RIBA in 1996:1

1. Windows are an essential element in building design, for the following reasons: change, colour, sunlight, modelling, orientation and view.

2. Window design, associated with the need to reduce energy in buildings, is leading towards high tech window design, where associated problems of ventilation, solar gain, glare and noise pollution suggest an integrated solution.

3. Air-conditioning, at least in this country, will become the exception rather than the rule.

4. There is a convergence between the provision of optimum visual and environmental conditions in building, and the world needs to come to terms with global warming, and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

^New Light on Windows.' Joint RIBA, BRE and CIBSE Seminar held at the RIBA, November 1996. Notes prepared by Derek Phillips, unpublished.

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