Fenestration plays an important role and it can make a positive impact in commercial terms. Architecture is an art form and fenestration is the design and arrangement of windows and other glazed elements that often provide a major focal point.
It can be the most notable feature of the building, covering a range of design elements including windows, glazed doors and glass curtain walls, to name but a few.
When considering the design of a new building, architects take into account the energy performance of fenestration products to decide on the best option. There are three main areas: the U-value of the glazing, the Visible Light Transmission and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.
The U-value measures how well heat is transferred by the whole window or door, including the frame, glass and sash, either into or out of the property. The VLT refers to the measurable amount of daylight that travels through the glazing system.
The SHGC is the amount of solar radiation that passes through a window, skylight or door, either directly or absorbed and released as heat inside the building. Glazing with a lower SHGC transmits less solar heat and has a greater shading ability.
These three factors are taken into account to enhance the comfort, energy-performance and liveability of the building. The U-value is particularly relevant, as it rates the insulation provided by the glazing. The lower the U-value, the better the glass protects the property from heat transfer.
The SHGC rating is measured between zero and one. A zero rating means no solar heat will pass through the window. A one rating means 100% of the available solar heat will pass through the glass. Using rated fenestration products can boost the energy performance of your building, achieving optimum savings and greater comfort.
Climate influences the choice of fenestration products. When the building is in a hot climate, the window ratings are aimed at reducing heat gain indoors. In mixed climates, the fenestration needs to balance heat gain against heat loss. In cold climates, it must reduce heat loss from the building.
Retail and other commercial premises need an attractive shopfront that appeals to customers, turning passers-by into shoppers. Fenestration plays a key role in the premises’ appearance.
Curved or frameless shopfronts are available, with double or single-glazed windows and automatic doors, low energy-rated glass systems, curtain walling and self-cleaning units for ease of maintenance.
Advances in technology have enabled the manufacture of low-rated glass systems, such as Planitherm, energy-efficient triple glazing, Argon and Krypton gas-filled units, manual attack-resistant laminated glass and Superspacer units with warm-edge technology.
Different strengths of glass are available for enhanced security applications, including bomb-resistant filming, bullet-resistant glass and bonded aluminium glazing for doors.
Curtain walling can create a feeling of space, offering a seamless link with the outside world, while maintaining the security and safety of the premises.
Using clever glazing to allow daylight into the premises will save energy in terms of lightning, so the design and placing of the fenestration are vital to help save money on bills.
A well-designed shopfront can also enhance the ventilation of the interior of the building. Controlling the airflow depends on the physical characteristics of the design. Modern designs increase employee and customer comfort, ensuring the interior is warm in winter, but never hot and stuffy, even in the warmer summer weather.
Constructing aesthetically-pleasing and energy-efficient fenestration designs does not necessarily provide huge challenges for the modern architect.
Fenestration greatly impacts the functionality of a building, so it follows that a shop-keeper whose premises are on a busy high street will probably want a shopfront with plenty of windows to show off their products and attract passers-by.
There needs to be an impressive entrance, but not one so elaborate that it flouts every rule in terms of energy efficiency. It pays dividends to ask an expert for advice on balancing the two requirements.
By designing and installing the optimum shopfront and fenestration solution for your requirements, Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts can help your commercial building to thrive. Give us a call today on 0116 4640124, email [email protected], or use our handy online contact form to find out more.