To help reduce this impact, homes must be made as energy efficient as possible and therefore, each element of the building must be carefully evaluated to ensure that it does not cause energy to be wasted.
In the case of windows and doors, the energy efficiency is measured by the Window Energy Rating (WER). This assessment, established by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC), considers the U-value, solar gain and air leakage of a product and gives the window or door a rating from A+ to G depending on its performance. A product with a WER of B or above is endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust.
Furthermore, it's estimated that 80% of the homes we live in by 2050 have already been built so refurbishing and retrofitting properties to bring them as close as possible to modern standards is an important part of the residential sector. Regardless of the type of property, replacing old windows and doors with modern solutions is a simple way to improve the thermal performance. Since 2010 all replacement doors and windows must achieve a U-value of 1.8W/m²K or less.
At TECHNAL, our aluminium building systems have been designed for a versatility of application. For example, our Crown Residential windows are available in a palette of over 400 colours and can be finished with an array of Georgian, leaded, patterned or stained glass. This allows older properties to benefit from modern performance whilst retaining their unique character.
Safety and security is also a crucial consideration for every residential property. The police service's Secured by Design (SBD) initiative aims to design out crime by providing guidance on lighting design, improving sightlines and allowing passive surveillance through the correct placement of windows. It also certifies products to ensure they meet or surpass the required level of security. Since its establishment in 1989, more than 1 million SBD compliant homes have been built. Research has revealed the impact of this with SBD compliant new build and refurbished properties found to be respectively around 75% and 63% less likely to be burgled than an equivalent non-SBD property. With doors and windows being a key point of attack in many break-ins, ensuring that the specified products have achieved the Secured by Design standard is essential. We are proud to say that we have a range of products that comfortably meet this standard.
The accessibility and inclusivity of residential properties must also be considered. This is not only to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are met, but also that the home can accomodate the changing needs of individuals and families. With an aging population and an increase in multi-generational households this is now more important than ever. The Lifetime Homes standard was established to ensure that new properties are accessible to all and provides 16 design criteria that can be applied to any new property. These include the creation of level thresholds at entrances, wider doorways throughout and doors and windows that allow a view out when seated with handles that are easily accessible. These measures ensure that wheelchair users and people with mobility issues or limited reach can still operate the windows and doors easily.
Finally, the quality of life offered by the homes is also an increasingly common consideration. There is a growing body of evidence that increased levels of natural light and lowered levels of noise can help to reduce stress and improve health. For example, greater focus is being placed on the orientation of buildings and placement of windows to ensure natural light is optimised for all properties within a development. Doors that have large sections of glazing and slimline window framces can help to maximise the amount of light that enters a room.
Residential projects must meet a number of different standards to ensure that they are suitable for those living there and contribute to a more sustainable building through energy efficiency. The choice of windows and doors in a residential property has a significant part to play in creating a safe, comfortable, secure and healthy environment.
Our team of project consultants are available to assist you with choosing the right products for your residential projects. Contact them online.