Maybe it’s our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, our relationship with technology, a growing disconnection with the natural world, or the changing nature of the modern workplace, but there has been a consistently growing demand from both homeowners and workers over the last few decades … light. We can’t get enough of it.

As we spend more and more time cooped up indoors, in homes and offices, our bodies and minds instinctively crave natural light. Natural light gives us energy, boosts health and our immune system, we perform better and feel happier. Natural light makes homes and workplaces feel bigger, freer, less claustrophobic, even tidier!

From bifolding doors and conservatory roofs, apartment windows to office entrances, modern building design is characterised by increasingly large glazed areas, designed to let in the maximum amount of natural light.

But what are the possible considerations and potential pitfalls of increasing the glazed areas of our homes and workspaces? How can we overcome them and what are the practical limits to the size of windows and doors?

 

Balancing Natural Light with Environmental Performance

As well desiring more natural light, we are also increasingly conscious of the environmental performance of our homes. Tackling both growing energy bills and a growing climate crisis, heat conservation is an essential consideration in building design.

With the increased surface area of glass in modern doors and windows, necessary for maximising natural light, there is also an increased danger of wasting precious heat and energy from our homes. As glazed area increases, it is important that the type of glass used, double and triple glazing options etc. work to conserve heat. However, those energy-efficient glazing options can dramatically increase the weight and thickness of doors and windows as size increases. This in turn creates practical limits to the size of glazed door/ window we can install.

But what are these limits? The advice below gives a rough guideline to different types of door and window fittings, but please get in touch with our team to discuss what we can do for you.

Doors. Suggested maximum size 250 cm (height) x 120 cm (width) for a single door. Double-door systems are a good option if a particularly wide entrance is desired (i.e. up to 240 cm width), and certain aluminium systems, such as Schuco, allow for a greater door height of 300 cm.

Doors: Sliding Doors. Suggested maximum size 270 cm (height) x 600 cm (width) for a two-pane sliding door arrangement (with either timber or Alu Clad sliding door frames). Of course, overall width can be increased to around 10 metres by adding additional fixed panes to your sliding door system. As with regular doors (above), Schuco doors allow for a maximum height of 3 metres.

Windows: Fixed Pane (non-opening). Suggested maximum size 300 x 250 cm for a single fixed pane. This size is made possible by increasing the glass density to improve heat retention.

Windows: Opening. Suggested maximum size 250 x 250 cm for a single opening vent (note: we advice against window width exceeding window height). For large opening windows, we normally recommend a tilt/turn type opening system (in contrast to traditional hinge fittings) to provide the strength and durability needed to accommodate the window weight.

Windows: Sash Sliding Windows. Suggested maximum size 300 cm (height) x 150 cm (width).

As we mentioned, the above advice on maximum glazed door and window sizes should give you a rough guide on the possibilities open to you. But please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can combine excellent energy efficiency in your home with maximising the amount of natural light we can bring into it.