The use of aluminium in fenestration offers major benefits in every type of building, from single-family residences to monumental commercial constructions and everything in between.
The arrangement of the windows in a building, known as the fenestration, is one of the most important parts of the overall design. Well-designed windows enable people to live and work comfortably by allowing natural light indoors and aiding passive solar heating and cooling. Providing natural points of ventilation and air circulation, they increase energy efficiency, improve comfort by reducing draughts and produce better quality indoor air.
Why choose aluminium?
Aluminium is a popular material for fenestration because of its versatility, strength and “green” characteristics. It offers great design flexibility, allowing architects and designers the opportunity to create many features and styles for each building. It can also be manufactured in many colours – this is a real advantage of aluminium, as it can seamlessly blend into and enhance any design scheme.
Despite its slim lines, aluminium provides structural integrity and offers exceptional longevity. Robust and durable, it is ideal for areas where there is particularly heavy traffic, including shopfronts in shopping centres and on the high street.
Highly resistant to impact, such as in the event of someone falling into it, it a safer option. Although aluminium is one of the lightest engineering metals, it provides a better strength-to-weight ratio than other metals, such as steel.
In tests, the aluminium yield strength was assessed up to 40,000 PSI (pound force per square inch) without steel reinforcement. In the event of a blast, the fenestration material is required to bend and not break to absorb energy. This was easily accomplished in the tests with aluminium.
In terms of recyclability and sustainability, aluminium is hard to beat, as it is 100% recyclable. The aluminium recycling industry has tripled in recent years, preventing the disposal of waste to landfills.
Extremely eco-friendly, it requires less energy than steel to both manufacture and recycle. In addition, it’s expected to last 25 years in the case of polyester powder-coated aluminium and 35 years for anodised aluminium.
The thermal performance of aluminium fenestration systems is also exceptional, as they can utilise thermal foam and enhanced thermal break technology to take performance to new levels. Research shows aluminium fenestration can provide annual energy savings of 16%. Between the 1950s and the current day, the thermal performance of aluminium has improved with every new innovation since the early days of basic single-glazed units.
The fact is, if aluminium is good enough for airports and skyscrapers such as New York’s Empire State Building, then it is surely good enough for a shopfront. The use of aluminium in any design or application is creating a bank of material that looks great and can be recycled in the future.
This amazing material can support much larger areas of glass within narrower frames, offering a slim sightline with the maximum benefit of natural light. It enables the creation of bespoke glazing solutions comprising high quality, low-cost, safe and versatile designs. Aluminium fenestration systems are safe and secure, even with a slim profile.
Especially effective in the retail sector, shopfront glazing systems will benefit from having slim profiles. Highly-visible window displays are a must to help attract passers-by – and then hopefully turn them into customers who want to come in and see more!