5 Features To Keep In Mind When Choosing The Right Windows
Windows offer more than just views of the outside world.
They can make a major impact on the energy efficiency of a building and the well-being of the people who live there. Exposure to natural light has been shown to improve sleep, ward off seasonal depression and boost vitamin D levels, while energy-efficient windows that trap in heat during the winter can save owners thousands of dollars in energy bills.
“Choosing the right windows can be the difference between a tenant signing a lease or moving on to the next option,” said Steven Levin, senior vice president of procurement at Mega Supply Pro. “This is why we make it a priority to help developer clients choose the window materials that will work best for their building.”
While the majority of today’s residential window frames are made of wood or vinyl, other materials like aluminum have been booming in popularity due to their flexibility and durability and thanks to the rise of modern contemporary design.
Levin walked Bisnow through the key considerations of choosing windows and why developers may want to consider aluminum for their next project.
With energy efficiency in mind, building owners should look for a window that will best insulate their building from the elements. While vinyl has a well-earned reputation for being an excellent insulating material, aluminum used to have a bad reputation for being a heat conductor in the summer and bringing in unwanted cold from the outside in winter.
But today, Levin said, there are “thermally broken,” energy-efficient aluminum window frames that consist of aluminum separated by highly insulating layers of polyurethane.
“Polyurethane used in thermal breaks is specially formulated to have one of the lowest conductivity coefficients among insulation materials,” Levin said. “Plus, any number of thermal breaks can be used in a single frame to reduce thermal transfer and improve energy efficiency even further.”
Insulation is also important not just for temperature, but for noise, and research has shown that aluminum windows can do a better job of blocking noise than vinyl windows, a major benefit for city tenants.
Commercial builders have relied on aluminum frames for years thanks to their durability.
“Architects and builders often specify aluminum windows for their overall strength, longevity and cost-effectiveness,” Levin said. “Now, combined with high-quality hardware and mechanical components, aluminum windows can offer some of the highest levels of protection in the face of natural and man-made disasters.”
He added that aluminum’s rigidity protects it from warping or decay over time, which allows it to keep its shape and ensures superior operability; aluminum windows will continue to slide quietly and smoothly decades after installation.
“Vinyl windows still tend to break down, warp, lose or gain pigmentation over the years,” Levin said. “Aluminum windows allow for a ‘set it and forget it’ approach that eliminates the need to replace windows every 10 to 15 years, which is often the case with vinyl and especially wood.”
When choosing materials, developers are always concerned about their bottom lines. High-performing aluminum may be more expensive than vinyl, but as Levin explained, it will last longer and require less maintenance, which saves costs in the long run.
He added that working with a manufacturer-direct wholesaler like Mega Supply Pro that coordinates directly with suppliers can go a long way toward reducing costs by cutting out the middleman.
“We work with Vetrina Windows, a Philadelphia-based window manufacturer that employs a wide range of aluminum extrusion and treatment techniques, to design high-performance aluminum windows that solve the most complex design challenges,” Levin said.
Expansive windows that let in lots of natural light and create open sightlines can make smaller urban spaces feel larger, which is why open concept floor plans are favoring large windows.
Levin said that when it comes to creating a visually extended atmosphere, light, durable aluminum has a leg up over vinyl.
“Vinyl is an inherently weaker and softer material than aluminum, therefore vinyl windows tend to have thick bulky frames that obstruct light and views,” Levin said. “Aluminum’s superior tensile strength allows for thinner profiles, and these frames can be made significantly larger, which is ideal for floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows desirable in open-concept floor plans.”
5. Freedom Of Design
Along with its superior durability, Levin said aluminum windows can be configured into endless modular combinations to complement the clean minimalist lines of contemporary architecture. Along with that, while vinyl windows are rarely painted, aluminum windows from Vetrina Windows can be easily faux-finished to mimic the look and texture of everything from shiny metal to natural wood.
“The bottom line is that aluminum frames make for great energy-efficient windows for sustainable building designs in user-friendly packages,” Levin said.
This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Mega Supply Pro. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.