Samantha Smith of Fakro GB highlights the importance of including roof windows into projects to improve health and wellbeing.
A house is simply not complete without windows. They are the crucial element to providing natural light and ventilation into a home. Not only do they significantly contribute to health benefits, they can also be a key part of why a house is aesthetically pleasing.
However, choosing the right style of window for a house can be a daunting experience with many aspects to take into consideration, including the amount of natural light expected, sizing, insulation, regulations and the design of a room.
Natural light from above
For some, a loft is considered to be the best room in the house. It offers a space away from the rest of the household, and if the right roof windows are selected and installed with care, homeowners are offered unique views.
Roof windows offer a great solution if you want to increase the levels of natural light into a room. To optimise the positive effects of daylight entering a space, it is important to carefully plan where the roof windows will be installed.
For example, to understand how much natural light is recommended for each room, here is a general rule: habitable rooms usually have a ratio of 1:8 for light- to-floorspace. This equates to 12.5 per cent, however for other types of rooms the ratio is regarded to be 1:12 or 8 per cent of the floor space.
The correct amount of light in the room is calculated by the proportion of the surface of the glazing area to the total floor space. And remember, if a window is situated at a higher level of the building, a greater level of natural light will flood into the room.
When specifying a project, larger roof windows can help to illuminate the room without the need to install multiple windows. It is suggested the glazing area should be at least 15 to 20 per cent of the total floor area for the brightest results.
A lack of vitamin D can cause bones to become soft and weak, and this can lead to bone abnormalities. Although the human body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight while outdoors, it is equally important to maximise your exposure to natural light even when you are indoors.
Research has shown that exposure to natural sunlight can also have a powerful effect on an individual’s mood. Changes in atmospheric light targets the pineal gland, responsible for the hormones serotonin and melatonin. The body produces more serotonin when exposed to a higher level of natural light, but also excretes more melatonin as the sun sets. Residing in dark rooms with unnatural illumination, or where over-exposure to smart phones occurs, has been shown to interrupt sleep patterns.
Ventilation is also vital within the home. Installing roof windows can help reduce the levels of airborne pollutants and moisture indoors – if rooms are not vented sufficiently, mould can develop and condensation issues may arise.
Some roof windows are equipped to help, with ventilation air inlets built in to maintain good air quality and thermal comfort. Poor ventilation can lead to potential health issues, including shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue. We all tend to spend a lot of time indoors, especially in the chilly winter months, so it is important to create a fresh and healthy environment throughout the year, contributing to a happier lifestyle and general wellbeing.
Comfort and warmth are large factors of our ‘internal’ lifestyles, so it is essential to control odours, regulate heat and condensation while generating opportunities to create a link to nature by letting the outside in.
Types of roof windows
There are various styles of roof windows available across the UK market to suit even the most unique structures. Not only should you focus on windows that can offer great value, their aesthetics are also a key factor. Both flat and pitched roof windows can be adapted to enhance a traditionally designed project. There is no simple way of choosing the right roof window – there’s centre pivot, high pivot, balcony and top hung windows along with manual and electrically operated flat roof windows.
Roof windows can be made with multiple internal finishes to suit the location of the fitted window. As an example, a white polyurethane finish is often used in rooms with a higher level of humidity and moisture – e.g. a kitchen or bathroom. Alternatively, a PVCu window is often selected for its lower maintenance and weather resistance.
Products are traditionally manufactured from timber and aluminium cladding as standard, but the selection process does not end there. If you have a design in mind then it can be brought it to life by choosing a bespoke window option. There are over 200 colours available from the RAL classic palette allowing your window to become a canvas to paint; the choice is endless.
Samantha Smith is marketing coordinator at Fakro GB