The recent conference of the Australian Windows Association once again featured excellent guest speakers on a variety of topics, including future trends for windows and doors which include larger sizes, better insulation and automation.
One main change, according to what customers want, is about ever larger and larger products. No longer are standard window and door sizes on the ‘want’ list of customers but whole walls of glass. To add to this, the need to lower energy use as energy prices rise brings us to the next trend, which is - better insulated products.
Single glazed aluminium windows are now anticipated to be a product of the past, in just 5-10 years. Insulating window and door frames made of timber, aluminium clad timber, uPVC or thermally broken aluminium will be the norm. And in glazing, there is a range of options including double and triple glazing, coated glass, self-tinting glass, glass that acts as solar panels, and a whole range more to increase energy efficiency and comfort.
All these advances in windows also work to reduce carbon emissions, so that Australia can meet the Paris Agreement. The upcoming changes in the National Construction Code from 2019 onwards reflect this. Interesting fact by McKinsey.com: 82% final energy consumption in buildings is supplied by fossil fuels, electricity costs have increased by 120% since 2008, and gas has increased by 180% between 2003 and 2013.
Seals and multi-point locking for increased security and draft reduction will be a part of every window and door in the future. And not only in the southern states of Australia, which experience a cold winter. As one guest speaker put it, as soon as you switch on the air-conditioner in a home you will create a winter but this time on the inside. Energy efficient products mean a more stable temperature within the home, year round without mechanical means, which translates to a reduction in heating and cooling costs.
Smart home automation is on the rise with not only door locks integrated into home control systems, but also windows that open and close according to temperature or rainfall, external shading activated due to weather conditions, or even glass changing to darker tints, all either fully automated or controlled by smart phones etc.
The fenestration industry is gearing up for change, disruption is happening, and it will all benefit the consumer. How quickly did consumers adopt smart technology in phones, TVs, cars, and even modes of transport? Google provides information from around the world and we don’t want to be left behind. Quite the contrary, we are early adopters of change.
So why wait with windows and doors? Paarhammer has been manufacturing windows and doors of the future for many years, right here in Australia – Australian-made for Australian conditions. Yes, there are many variables to consider, but it is important to achieve comfortable, healthy buildings that occupants enjoy working and living in, and windows are a big part of the building envelope.