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Fenestration for Environmental Sustainability

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Fenestration refers to the design, construction, or presence of openings in a building.  The importance of this aspect of building construction cannot be underestimated. The style, placement, construction and material used are all important features in giving a building character, environmental interaction and climatic optimisation. The field of fenestration has seen rapid development in recent years and its importance is widely understood by builders and architects as also the manufacturing industry.  Leading  industry experts share their views with Buildotech. The key sure is  in the right selection of materials and processes coupled with good design and installation.

Emerging trends in fenestration and building envelope worldwide:

The fenestration industry in India has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. “With the increase in importance of proper ventilation & energy conservation in buildings, fenestration trends are changing frequently”, says Anjan Putatunda, GM, Kawneer (India).

Mario Schmidt, Director, Lingel Windows and Doors adds, “According to estimates, in 2006, the size of the Indian fenestration industry was `600Cr and from there, in 2015, it has grown to `1500Cr.”

Some of the new trends in fenestration include screens and louvers, large glazing. While being functional they also define a new architectural language.

Talking about emerging trends, Ajay Agarwal, Chairman, Geopreneur Infracorp Ltd says. “All the new and modern buildings are designed with a façade which showcases the latest materials and trends prevalent in the field of architecture and design. Developers are using tinted glazing to match the colour of the building paint or other solid cladding materials which are becoming very common in modern architecture. Another trend is providing louvers in the façade which gives a unique character to the building’s exterior. These louvers are used to cover the sanitary ducts or hide some other service areas and sometimes just to add to the aesthetics of the building”.

Common trends are tinted glazing, Aluminum windows and now the shift to uPVC. According to Suraj Morajkar, MD, Sun Estates fenestration trends have moved towards new materials, energy savings.

Putatunda thinks Aluminum windows are a promising trend. “In the recent times, aluminum windows are in fashion due to their light weight and they also provide a sleek finish. It is a material which can be used to maintain the temperature in any place through thermal break technology and is an accepted norm in developed countries.

Schmidt differs on this point. “Aluminum windows are available in two categories. Section Aluminum which can be manufactured locally and mostly bereft of any specific standard or guideline for quality; System Aluminum a new concept in India where we (LINGEL) are happy to be associated with two brands HUECK and Kawner which are following the same fabrication and testing procedures like branded UPVC companies.

“Aluminum market is dominated by unbranded products. The consumers are also unaware about the alternatives available. Building envelopes and fenestration trends have been undergoing a revamp across the world. Apart from the traditional wooden material, doors and windows are now available in alternate technological configurations such as uPVC (polyvinyl chloride), aluminium, and in many cases, a blend of these two. Today, windows are expected to make building energy efficient, keep outside noise at bay, facilitate ventilation and emergency exit; all this besides letting in light and providing a picturesque view.”

He notes that in India, the sector is highly unorganized. The uPVC windows entered the Indian market just 12 years back. In February 2016, uPVC Window and Door Manufacturers Association (UWDMA) introduced standard guidelines for uPVC windows, its fabrication and installation. Many inferior quality products are being sold in the market, without proper installation. Though uPVC is a greener and stronger material than aluminum, it is not accepted as much, and wood is still widely in use.

His company, Lingel, which entered India 10 years ago, has a range of products including various types of windows and doors, window and door accessories like insect nets, hardware, and roller shutters besides many glass items.

The uPVC technology has some important advantage. It does not let in heat from outside in summers, and does not let the inside heat get out of the room during winters. It can bring down energy loss anywhere between 10% and 15%.

Also, uPVC casement sections are dust proof, water proof and along with the right glass, sound proof as well. The material is also termite proof, does not rust, crack, chip or fade in colour. One key point with UPVC windows is the use of gaskets between the frame and the sections, similar to the way car doors and refrigerators are sealed with gaskets. In comparison to wooden windows, there is no swelling of the material during the monsoon season.