Window considerations are often underrated by homebuyers when they are planning to build their new home. However with a little pre-planning and thought, correct window selection for your needs can occur.
The correct size and shape of windows is important to maximise the energy efficiency of your new home and reduce your energy bills. The Building Code of Australia requires close attention to the size and shape of windows to retain heat in the home. Windows are a major source of heat loss (up to 40 per cent) so the right specifications and sealing to minimise draught are critical.
Window selection also needs to maintain the privacy of the homebuyer and immediate neighbours. There often is a conflict between an owner’s privacy requirements and maximising light in the home or making the best use of available views.
Window selection needs to recognise UV radiation and how this may best be minimised. On a similar note noise reduction (for example, from traffic) can be significantly reduced by correct choice of glazing.
Security is another issue. Some windows have a specifically designed lock yet allow the window to remain slightly ajar, or in a vented position. You may also wish to consider security film on the windows to prevent smashing. On a similar theme child safety is also important, particularly if you are to have full length windows. You should consider the use of strengthened glass in high traffic areas.
If you are building near the coast and are likely to be exposed to storms and high winds, the Building Code of Australia requires particular glazing types in these locations.
Aluminum or timber window frames is another choice you will need to make. Timber is attractive but it is more expensive and requires greater maintenance than the aluminum alternative. You should also consider the relative thermal performance of the two frame types.