No detail should be left unconsidered when planning a home. Something that seems as simple as choosing the type of window can actually be an important choice. There are a surprising number of options out there, and it’s best to look at a few of them before coming to a decision.
1. Install Energy Efficient Windows
Going green can be profitable. Most buildings lose more energy through their windows than any other part, so installing a set of energy efficient windows can conserve a surprising amount of power. Saving power protects the environment and saves money at the same time. The American Department of Energy provides a variety of guidelines about installing new, energy efficient windows or improving existing windows, and following those guidelines can result in up to a 10% reduction in a home’s heating and cooling bill. Many of the techniques can be combined with other windows, so everyone should consider at least a couple of improvements.
2. Find Garden Space
When you install your new windows, consider installing a large window sill at the same time. This will provide space for a small container garden directly under the window. A simple window box that is either placed on the window sill or attached to it can hold a few plants, usually herbs, flowers, or leafy green vegetables. Be sure to install a screen for the window at the same time if you plant anything that the local birds will enjoy eating, unless you want to meet a few new friends as they steal your plants.
3. Consider Impact-Resistant Glass
Glass has an unfortunate tendency to break. This can be a serious problem for homes that are exposed to hurricanes and other high winds, since debris can easily break through their windows. Some urban homes can also run into problems from thrown objects, although that is usually a minor problem compared to the weather. Impact-resistant glass can offer protection against breakage, so it might be worth the upgrade if your home is in a high-risk area. These windows rely on a type of laminated glass that puts a strong polymer sheet between two layers of glass, which both prevents damage and prevents the glass from spraying the area with little shards if it does break.
4. Consider Casement Windows
There are several window styles to choose from, most of which are available with any type of glass. A casement window is an option that is made up of a single pane with a vertical hinge, which allows the window to swing outwards. This allows fairly easy access to the area immediately outside the window, which can be useful for gardeners. A container garden can be placed on the building’s outer wall and watered through the open window, or organic waste can be thrown out the window directly onto a compost heap. This is also possible with traditional hung windows, but they offer less space and it is slightly more difficult to do so.
5. Pick Awning Windows
Awning windows are superficially similar to casement windows, but they have a hinge at the top of the window. They open by swinging the bottom outwards, and they usually have some sort of latching mechanism to hold it in the open position. These offer many of the same benefits as casement windows, but they can go in places where casements could not. In particular, these don’t need any space next to the window on the outer wall to open, so they allow hedges and other objects to grow close to the window without interfering with it.
6. Try Bay Windows
Bay windows are a distinctive option that reaches outward from the wall instead of using a perfectly flat structure. This is a great addition to smaller rooms, since it creates the appearance of open space without requiring a major expansion to the walls, according to American Window & Door Company. They also open up the option of an expanded window sill, which is perfect for a breakfast nook or a larger container garden.
7. Pick Wooden Frames
Every window, regardless of style, needs frames. The most common options are vinyl, aluminum, and wood. Of those, wood is the most popular by a large margin in most areas. Wooden window frames offer plenty of insulation compared to aluminum frames, and an appearance that many find more attractive than vinyl. The downside is that they require significantly more maintenance. For many people, that trade is more than worth it.