Windows are becoming functionally superior, promising a variety of inbuilt features
Modern day fenestrations are a perfect blend of functionalism and aesthetics. While the frames have become sleeker with options to customise them in decorative colours and designs, new window systems also boast of multiple features like excellent thermal insulation and green ratings. Architects and designers enjoy flexibility in design too with various installation and mounting options that allow windows to go beyond its conventional appearance. There is definitely more to windows than what meets the eye in today’s context.
“Windows and doors are the single biggest source of home energy loss and as much as 40% of your home’s energy loss occurs through outside air infiltration through your windows and doors. At a time when energy costs are sky high, this is probably a major part of your home’s budget so becoming more energy-efficient is extremely important,” points out Atin Thacker, director - Marketing, Geeta Aluminium Company. Energy-efficient windows, therefore, are becoming a more prominent solution in the fenestration industry. These windows have the ability to save money on heating, cooling and lighting costs while simultaneously reducing the home’s carbon footprint.
“Insulation is one of the most efficient ways to save energy since it keeps the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Energy-efficient system windows minimise the carbon emission rates and consume less power resulting in reduction of electricity costs, and are environment friendly,” mentions Thacker, adding that the installation of thermal break windows also assists in LEED certification of prospective green buildings.
It is also important to remember that every customer is different with unique requirements. Architects are also exploring variations in façade design. Given this scenario, Mario Schmidt, MD, Lingel Windows and Doors Technologies, rightly points out that customisation is key when it comes to modern windows. As experts in the field, Schmidt says they offer more than just products, but also share expertise and knowledge with the customers suggesting solutions that best suit their designs.
When it comes to aesthetics, most designs today feature ceiling-to-floor windows, appearing more as transparent walls than conventional windows. “Natural light has become the most essential design feature that people look for in their homes. People now prefer large glasses with minimal sightlines of the window frame,” shares Saket Jain, business head, Fenesta. With its new aluminium range, Fenesta responds to this market demand with solutions that boasts of slimmer frames and widths along with more glass area. Jain also mentions, “People have become more energy-conscious, which makes sustainability and thermal performance a priority for them. This has brought a shift to energy-efficient windows which are manufactured from eco-friendly materials for thermal insulation.”
Another recent trend is the popularity of corner sliding windows, perfect for transforming cosy nooks facing corner balconies or garden spaces. “They are considered perfect for contemporary spaces as they allow maximum light to seep in, and can also be used as an architectural feature, improving the elevation of the house,” highlights Jain. The corner window solution also offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, besides enhancing the spaciousness of the room.
Modern demands for infrastructure – propelled by shifting demographic, economic trends and growing population – invariably promises exponential growth for the windows market. Experts believe that aluminium solutions will continue to dominate the market due to its recyclable properties and its inherent strength. Aluminium is also a good choice for tropical climates like ours, as it is strong and will not rot or warp in the humid weather.
Thacker believes that considering the climatic changes occurring, in the near future, Thermal Break Windows will be in demand as they cater to extreme climatic conditions. Aluminium window frames with thermal breaks and acoustic values, prevent the frame from conducting as much heat or cold and reduce condensation/noise. These windows are weather-resistant and require little maintenance and are highly moisture-resistant. “Understanding the real functional advantages and limits that an aluminium product brings to the end customer will be essential for future innovation,” according to Thacker.
Meanwhile, companies like Schueco are looking at addressing another key concern – indoor air quality. Its new solution VentoLife is a window-integrated ventilations system with automatic air purification and oxygen supply properties. VentoLife features a multi-stage air purification filter that has been specially designed to meet the needs of people living in cities and urban areas. Schueco VentoLife allows life-sustaining oxygen to pass through freely from the windows, while efficiently ridding harmful particles from the air. “Even in heavy smog, the smallest particulate matter is removed. In recirculating air mode, too, the air in the room is cleaned so effectively that no further air purification devices are necessary. Outside air is added as required by means of a sensor-controlled flap in order to achieve optimum air quality in the building at all times,” describes Ayaz Danish, national manager - Residential Business, Schueco India. Schueco VentoLife is integrated in windows or façades in an almost concealed fashion, and can be incorporated in both residential as well as office buildings.
The fenestration industry is definitely looking at IoT and the advancement in technology to revolutionise the sector in the coming years. Schmidt points out, “Our Wi-Fi operated product will be an example of how one can make their life simple and secure with these windows. From pollution levels to the window being left open, all messages will instantly come to your phone at the click of a button.” Companies like Lingel will soon introduce smart windows that are Wi-Fi operated. Smart Li, a breakthrough when it comes to windows and doors technology from Lingel, has special features such as: smartphone as a control panel, inbuilt security system, rain sensor, Lingel air purifier and smoke detector.
“In the last decade or so, windows and doors have come a long way from traditional steel structures to more minimalistic and contemporary designs,” illustrates Jain. “There has been a noteworthy evolution in both architecture and interior design trends which have led to innovations in style, material and manufacturing as well.” After French windows that blend indoor-outdoor living spaces, tilt-and-turn windows are also gaining popularity offering controlled ventilation without compromising on insulation. Jain adds, “Switch glass or smart windows are quite sought-after too, as they add smart technology to luxurious modern homes, whilst removing the hassles of using curtains to control light in the house.”
Meanwhile, brands like Gorlini are developing window systems with integrated lighting. “This system allows light to enter the window not only during the day, but also at night by virtue of the rest light,” mentions Ashok Basoya, founder, Ottimo. In a collaboration with Lucespazio lighting design, Gorlini came up with Framelight. Superior and Framelight. Vista, two innovative types of window frames. The Superior and Vista window frames are integrated with LED and draw light frames on the casing. More than just windows, the two solutions double up as decorative lighting elements, and provide mood lighting within the space.
A green revolution is the need of the hour for the fenestration industry as buildings have an impact on the environment and health overall, says Thacker. He believes the fight against pollution and environmental damage and the race to energy-efficiency have led to aluminium becoming a green material. Adoption of sustainable processes and materials for creating structures will help reduce the depletion of available resources and help build environments that are liveable and safe. “The push for green technology – in materials as well as designs and structures – will promote and motivate the industry players towards engineering more effective sustainable innovations,” predicts Thacker.
Ajay Khurana, chairman, Rehau South Asia, sees polymers playing a significant role in the windows and doors segment in the future. “The global polymers market is poised to expand at a CAGR of 4% from 2019 to 2025 and the market size is growing rapidly on the back of the increasing consumption of polymers in the construction, automotive and electrical industries. Increasing consumption of polymers products in different applications, besides rapid industrialisation, is increasing the demand in the polymers market in India,” he adds.
Experts are also banking on the real estate market to improve, and as a result positively impact the fenestration industry. Schmidt shares, “We are happy that under the current circumstances where the overall real estate and construction segment undergoes a critical time, we still could achieve a countable growth due to our country-wide presence. The moment the actual sales for real estate will be back, the entire industry will witness huge growth. We are aiming to expand aggressively with our dealer network pan India, and all our efforts and focus is there to reach Rs100 crore.”
Going forward, the construction boom will continue to shape the windows of the future, with efficient, eco-friendly solutions ruling the market.