How smart window technology is opening up a world of options for your home
If you think all windows do is open and close, you have missed a huge revolution in window technology that can keep energy use, heating bills and maintenance low, while massively improving the security, sound-proofing, look and comfort of your home.
New construction techniques that have revolutionised the insulating and sound-proofing performance of glass, sashes and frames, and massively improved their strength, have opened up a new world of contemporary design.
These new developments allow for longer stretches of wall to be replaced with sliding doors, wider windows, and narrower profile frames, letting in more light, while keeping out the wildest of weathers – even the roar of Orkney winds.
Hard to believe, but smart home technology and modern manufacture means you can be sitting on your holiday lounger on one side of the world, and close the windows and lower the blinds in your home on the other. Sensors linked to burglar alarms can even tell you if your home is being compromised and alert the police. Now there is no need to leave a light on to deter burglars when you go away!
And all this is available to us here in Orkney, thanks to Firefly Energi, the exclusive Orkney distributer and installer of Internorm windows and doors, the Austrian company that has been leading the world in the innovation and design since the 70s.
Its founder Eduard Klinger, who established a building and construction workshop in Linz, in 1931, pioneered the extrusion process in the 60s that gave the world the first UPVC windows, and freed us from the tyranny of window painting and mending rotting timber frames.
Since then the company has continued to innovate, developing processes that are massively improving the thermal performance and strength of its windows and doors, as well as offering a world of design options.
Their window sashes uses a ‘Fix Around’ technology, so the glass is glued in, improving the stability and load bearing of the window, and doing away with the need to include steel, so delivering a much lower u value (thermal transmittance) while optinising insulating and sound-proofing qualities.
“The steel reinforcement is only in the frame – we don’t do it in the sash anymore, because the glass is doing the job. Fixaround technology is a completely new innovation,” says Andreas Simmer, Internorm’s UK Managing Director, who recently visited the Firefly Energi stand at Orkney Country Show.
Their triple-glazed windows, which account for 85% of the one million windows they sell each year across 20 countries, also boosts insulation properties and security. Because Internorm manufactures all their own glass from their three factories in Austria so as to ensure the high quality of their product, the extra pane does not cost much more to include.
Another of their recent developments centres on the hybrid construction of frames and sashes, that uses timber on the inside, aluminium on the outside and a foam component in the middle – a response to the 21st Century demand for comfortable, high design, low maintenance living.
“Windows are becoming much more of an integral design feature in our homes. If you think about kitchens, they can pretty much do anything in any colour or finish to suit. We are offering that same choice in windows and doors with our new i-Tec hybrid product launched last year. So now you can choose from a range of different timber colours for the interior frame, such as larch, spruce, oak, that can be matched with your floors and interior doors, while being able to choose from a range of different colours for the aluminium exterior frames. We know that’s what people want today for their contemporary building projects.”
Affordable smart home technology that allows our domestic appliances and systems to talk to each other is also an optional feature of Internorm windows and doors. Sun protection, opening and closing sensors or systems that can control the lights, heating and windows together can be built in, using app technology.
So if you are thinking about new windows, think smart!
Visit the Firefly Energi showroom at Kiln Corner, Ayers Rd, Kirkwall, or call 01856 881151 or email email@example.com