The Role of Windows in Green Homes

Green homes are those that are eco friendly, leaving a small carbon footprint. This is often done by the use of passive heating, cooling and lighting. That is where windows come in, especially in a temperate climate.  Large windows on the sunny side of the house will allow natural sunlight in to warm the room and make it lighter. Thus, there will be less need to have the heater and lights on throughout the day as is often needed for a room with small windows.

Windows and the Sun
You might think that a window that allows the sun in will make the room too hot in the summer. This is not the case. The sun is higher in the sky in the summer, so will not shine into the window as much as it does in the winter when it is low. Having wider eaves will also ensure that there is shade on the walls in the summer.

Another thing to use for passive cooling is a shrubby tree outside, that will lose its leaves in the winter, allowing the sun through. In the summer it will have leafy branches that cast shade over the windows.

The kind of window is also important when it comes to being eco friendly. Remember that while sliding windows are usually large, only half the window cavity will be open. This is also true of sash windows. Louvre windows will open up the full cavity because each panel swings out to become horizontal. That said, they don’t shut as tightly as other windows and they tend to catch the dust more when open.

Windows Help Cool the Home
But the role of windows extends to more than light and shade. With larger windows on opposite sides of the house, the prevailing breeze is encouraged to blow through the house, cooling it considerably without the need for appliances that run on electricity or even gas. Passive cooling is free and uses up none of the earth’s resources.

If you live in a cold climate, you can still have large windows to let the light in even if the sun does not feel very warm, but they may need to be double or even triple glazed. This will provide a great deal more insulation without having to add heavy rubber-backed curtains that block out the light as well as the view. In fact, in very hot climates you may still want windows to be double glazed to help keep the heat out. Insulating against both heat and cold is a good idea. Glazing helps to keep the warmth or coolness of your home inside where you want it.

Placement of the windows is also important and must adhere to regulations; see this doc Prevention of Falls From Windows. Find out which direction the prevailing breeze comes from in your area and make sure the largest windows are on that side – if you live in a warm climate. In colder climates your home will be best served by having windows on the least windy sides.

If window renovations are not within your budget at the moment, you can use other passive shading measures with the windows you have. Shade can be created using awnings outside the windows; heating and cooling inside the home can be reduced by using insulated curtains to keep the home temperature stable and reduce the necessity for running your appliances all day long.

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