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6..Window design


Please email me if you know of anyone who has a kind word to say about the aluminium sliding window. I bet the only favourable comment would be that these windows are cheap, and perhaps, easy to clean.

So what's wrong with the aluminium sliding window? What's wrong is that these windows are not particularily effective in enabling the residents to do three things that windows should do. That is:

1.. Control incoming light effectively.

2.. Control the direction and strength of the incoming breeze.

3.. Offer security without having to add a security screen as an add-on.

These failings can leave the resident having to do what this tenant (see below) has done and is now having to put up with. It looks terrible doesn't it? Would you live there?



Fortunately, in the far north, there does appear to be a trend toward windows with better ventilation capability than that of the aluminium sliding window, however, even in our newer residential subdivisions, the aluminium sliding window still predominates. So, what are the alternatives to this window design?

Below is one suggestion which attempts to separate the control of the incoming light from the control of ventilation:

This window is divided into two distinct parts. At the upper part is a glass pane where incoming light is controlled by either a curtin or a vertical blind. The lower part is a shutter which controls the incoming breeze. If the breeze is strong and the day is hot, simply sharpen the angle of the shutter blades. This will direct the breeze toward the ceiling which is just the place you need the cooling breeze to go if you do not want papers blowing all over your place. More cooling is possible if a pedestal fan is placed in front of the window, drawing in the cooler air from the outside. (For much of Australia during our hot summers, the latter idea is usefull in cooling our bedrooms. Look at this drawing titled "Surviving hot nights without air-conditioning" for a couple of tips.)

A problem that windows can have is security. The solution provided by the manufacturers of the aluminium sliding window is the security screen but this adds to the expense of the window. If the shutters are made of a sturdy material such as aluminium and the structure is designed well, the security of the alternative window shown in the diagram would be more than adequate.

The recent passing of Cyclone Yasi would have reminded many of us that more can be done to protect the occupants of houses when the strong winds blow. One cheap and effective safety measure would be to bolt on temporary window covers (plywood perhaps?) over the glass pane during cyclone preparations. The bolt threads could be permanently placed in the walls of the house. These threads, however, should be covered, when the plywood covers are not in use, to prevent the threads from rusting.

The next section discusses overcoming the limitations of the hot water system. Take a look.



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