Even with a cursory glance of the buildings of Chicago highlighted on The Chicago Architecture Center’s website, there’s a common feature that stands out – their windows. They have a unique style that adds character to the facade of each. Windows are a well-known feature of Chicago’s buildings.
The site even lists large windows as one of the typical characteristics of the state’s 19th-century commercial buildings. It’s these different types of windows that make these buildings unique, architectural marvels.
Whether you’re renovating or constructing, you too can make your space an iconic part of the city’s landscape. The key is selecting the right type of windows that will enhance the exterior of your building and provide energy efficiency within. Read on to learn more about the kinds of windows that can make your building a Chicago treasure.
Importance of Windows for Commercial Buildings
Windows may improve the curb appeal of a structure, but they also serve a practical purpose. They’re an important element of any building. High-quality commercial windows:
- Support the structure of your building
- Control the levels of heat within your building
- Improve the natural light throughout the building
- Prevent glare
- Can boost employee productivity
Choosing the layout, type, and quantity of windows for a building is a balancing act. You can reduce your lighting expenses with the installation of a large number of windows. However, you also need to account for varying temperatures as the seasons change.
The temperature in your building will rise during summer, along with your HVAC costs. Conversely, in winter, you lose heat. You also need to consider the positioning of your windows. If located where there is direct sunlight, you’ll have to deal with the glare created.
The Different Types of Windows for Commercial Buildings
When choosing the best commercial windows for your building, there are two major elements you will need to consider – the material of the frame and the type of glass.
There are several window options when it comes to the material used for windows. The insulation provided will vary for each. They include fiberglass, metal, and plastic. Some window companies in Chicago also specialize in the installation and replacement of historic wood windows.
In addition to environmental factors, building code requirements will also influence the material and glass you choose for your windows.
Tempered glass is usually a legal requirement for commercial buildings. It’s stronger than the glass used for homes. It’s less harmful when broken because it shatters in small pieces. It’s another factor that makes it different from residential glass, which breaks into larger shards which can be more dangerous.
Laminated glass is actually made with two panes of glass. A thick piece of plastic glues the panes together, which strengthens the glass. If broken, the glass sticks to the plastic and doesn’t scatter when shattered.
This is the number of glass panes within a window. Noise and heat insulation increases with the number of panes. Multiple pane glazings sometimes use both plastic and glass. This makes it less expensive than all glass windows, which can also be more difficult to install.
The tint you choose for your windows can also eliminate any glare issues. Window tint can be standard or high performance. There’s also Low-E or reflective coating available.
You can use various factors to determine the style of window you choose. These can include:
- The building’s architectural style
- The location of the rooms in the building
- What you will be using each room for
- The size of each room
- Climate conditions
- Wind direction
Once you consider these, you can look at the window options that are available that will best suit your needs.
Fixed windows don’t have any mechanism to open or close them. Their main purpose is to allow natural light to enter a building. Fully glazed, weatherproof window panes are usually fixed to the window frame.
Sliding windows have movable panes within their frames. The functionality of the window determines if the movement of the frames is vertical or horizontal. These types of windows are often found in shops.
Double Hung Windows
These have a pair of panes attached to a single frame. The window panes are usually positioned one over the other and slide vertically within the frame. This allows the window to open from the top or the bottom.
This is a very common, widely used type of window. They open and close, similar to how a door opens and closes. They can include single or multiple window pane panels.
These are basically casement windows with a pivoting mechanism. Pivots allow the panes of the window to swing back and forth or oscillate. The window panes can swing vertically or horizontally depending on the position of the pivots.
Many public buildings use metal windows. They are made with mild steel, which is less expensive than other windows but quite strong. Aluminum, stainless steel, or bronze are also some other metals used to make this type of window.
These are just a few of the kinds of windows available. There are many other styles of commercial windows you can choose from that can perfectly suit the architectural design of your building, including:
- Gable windows
- Sash windows
- Lantern windows
- Bay windows
- Clerestory windows
- Corner windows
Skylights are also a popular feature of both old and newer commercial buildings in Chicago, including the Willis Tower, James R. Thompson Center, and Garfield Park Conservatory.
Let Your Building Make A Statement
Renovating or building a commercial space often requires a substantial investment. You’ll want to make sure you get it right the first time. This includes ensuring both the exterior and interior of your building not only meet building code requirements but look good.
The windows you choose play a major role in this. Different types of windows will not only provide the insulation your building needs but can enhance its appearance as well. Choose the best commercial windows along with a company that can ensure their proper installation.
Forde Windows and Remodeling, Inc. has over 35 years of experience. We do window installation and replacement for Chicago’s historical buildings. We can help you make a statement with your building too. Contact us today for a FREE estimate!