Now, we often talk about our own British made double glazing and its benefits etc, but what are windows like across the rest of the world? Do they differ much from here in the UK and if so, why? I have decided to take a look at windows in various countries, discovering the different styles and if the materials or techniques used are different to ours.
We start our journey in Scandinavian Norway. The houses were traditionally built with small rooms to retain heat with very small, square wooden windows. They kept the windows small to try and keep the heat in; as they were single glazed, wooden windows, they didn’t do a great job of retaining heat. However, due to the climate of the country, most houses are entirely made of wood, giving them the flexibility to move with the changing temperatures. A brick building would crack and crumble due to the climate. Another interesting fact is how they used to have sloped roofs so the snow slipped off, but they would also put turf on the roof to prevent traditionally built roof tiles made of bark from curling. Grass would grow on the roof and would act as an insulator. Clever idea ay!
Image sourced from Flickr
Nowadays, the technology and materials have improved greatly and ‘passive houses’ are popular across the whole of Scandinavia. A passive house is a standard of energy efficiency for a building that has a low ecological footprint, meaning it is doesn’t consume much energy and has sustainable energy sources. It may also not require energy for heating or cooling the building, to help cut energy consumption further. These houses promote energy efficiency, using triple glazing and thick insulation to help keep a home warm. When temperatures are -20C outside and blizzard conditions, you want a warm and cosy home to retreat to.
From the cold climate of Scandinavia to the warmer climes of ancient Greece, where houses are in some ways similar to the Norwegians. They are built from naturally sourced materials, sun-dried mud bricks and they have very small windows, but theirs have no glass at all. Instead they have wooden shutters on the outside to block out the boiling midday sun and keep heat in during the winter. The houses are normally white, with either a flat or a tiled pitched roof, depending on the local climate and tradition.
Image sourced from Flickr
As for the windows in Greece and the Mediterranean, double glazing is becoming more common as they look for ways to improve their energy efficiency. Their windows are a lot smaller and tend to have wooden shutters to block out the hot sun, but the small window is also beneficial for the winter time. A single glazed window is not very good at retaining heat as we discovered in Norway, and heat can easily be lost. However, as the windows are small less energy will be lost through them and to reduce this heat loss further, they can install double glazing. Energy efficiency is at the forefront of Europe’s mind, so if there are ways to improve it, each and every country within Europe is trying to make steps to do so. Be it the tropics of the Mediterranean or the icy climates of Scandinavia.
Next time we will travel out of Europe to look at a couple of other countries and how their windows differ to ours. If you have recently been abroad and got some amazing window pictures, we would love to see them! Simply tweet them to us @anglianhome or share them on our Facebook page.