Samantha Smith of Fakro GB discusses the ‘unrivalled’ choice that is now available across the UK roof window market
Is the very way we are designing and building sustainable housing changing? Many of us spend around 90 per cent of our time indoors either at work or at home so it’s important to maximise the benefits of building products when renovating. The idea behind sustainable housing is to work with nature and not against it. Therefore supplying the right roof window is crucial. Choose from highly energy-efficient windows to harness the sun’s energy during those cooler months or units with ventilation air inlets to provide regular air flow. When it comes to choosing the right window you will find many differences between product ranges. Some may appear to look the same externally but they might not have an efficient U-value performance, which could have a negative impact. This is just one of the distinctive features to consider when incorporating roof windows into a project.
Roof window possibilities
There are a number of pitched and flat roof windows to suit personal preference and all budgets. Manufactured in many forms such as non-opening, electrical opening and fixed options, there is a solution to cater for all consumers and architects. For instance, buildings that cannot be extended due to cost concerns or other matters may contemplate balcony windows to enhance space and luxury. Balcony windows allow you to ‘push the inside out,’ therefore increasing space within a room. Additionally, they also allow a substantial amount of natural light into the room. Consisting of a bottom sash which can be pushed open to create a balcony, the balustrades also complement the design by offering safety. Are you looking for an energy-efficient balcony window solution? These windows can be manufactured with double or triple glazing. One common problem we face, and that must be addressed, are the levels of natural light entering the room. Natural light benefits the body by boosting its vitamin D levels and helps to increase productivity more so than artificially lit work spaces. Rather than installing one large roof lantern in the centre of the room, why not look into the possibilities of integrating several roof windows throughout the space? This will draw in natural light from all angles and reel in the benefits of having multiple windows – and don’t forget the views too! By supplying drawings this provides technical teams and specifiers with a holistic view of a project and allows them to be involved in the conversation. This is where an architect is introduced to the possibilities of colour, opening styles and a myriad of ways to deliver natural light, excellent ventilation and design aesthetics.
It is important for those renovating a property to be given the option to choose how they would like their roof windows to look, whether that’s structurally or aesthetically. If you are looking to coordinate existing external features with your roof windows, the sky’s the limit. Colours from the RAL classic palette can be manufactured to your specification and there’s your design brought to life. What if you are looking for an alternative size? Again, this is possible. To continue offering unrivalled choice, manufacturers have had to consider consumer needs. For instance if a window is required in a room with higher levels of humidity, a PVCu window would be an excellent choice. PVCu roof windows offer low maintenance as the outer pane is designed to be easy to clean. Many of us spend an increasing amount of time on our smartphones; in 2018 The Telegraph reported that 78 per cent of the UK population spent 24 hours a week online using mobile devices. This has driven the need for smart home technology, and roof windows are not immune. Technology now enables you to walk through your door and open your roof windows via an app, a choice that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Another simple example of convenience is the location of the handle. Roof windows are manufactured with handles either at the bottom for ease of operation or along the top sash to keep out of reach of young children.
Why is choice imperative?
Should all building projects consider alternative solutions? Well, why not, if it is available? We believe providing you with choice allows you to create a beautiful masterpiece, using all of the unique features that come with a roof window.
Samantha Smith is marketing executive at Fakro GB