Clerestory Windows

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Clerestory Window
Block Glass Windows
Other Names
Replacement Clerestory Window
Windows installed above eye level.

Clerestory windows are windows which are installed along the top of a room, above eye level. These windows may be operable or non-operable windows. They serve to allow additional light and for operable clerestory windows, air, into a room.


[edit] Clerestory Windows

Clerestory windows are often seen in gothic-style buildings or other high-ceiling structures. They are an appropriate window choice for a home where the homeowner wants to provide extra light without a view or compromising privacy. Replacement clerestory windows are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and add a unique architectural style to a home.

[edit] Operation

Replacement clerestory windows are installed as a row of windows above eye-level, oftentimes rising above adjoining roofs or along the edge of a ceiling. These windows may be fixed frame windows or operable windows such as awning or hopper windows.

[edit] Benefits

In addition to adding extra light to a room, a homeowner can use replacement clerestory windows to create a cross breeze or enhance the room's design. If the lower section of the wall does not have room for windows because of interior furnishings or closet space, the upper section of the wall can include clerestory windows which compensate by adding light and, for operable clerestory windows, air.

[edit] Sizes and Shapes

Clerestory windows come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. High-ceiling public buildings such as halls and churches may feature extremely tall clerestory windows which are custom-manufactured with any number of shapes, designs and colored glass. Rectangular or small square clerestory windows are generally installed in homes though options include half-round windows.

[edit] Placement

Clerestory windows are a popular choice for basements, allowing light and air to enter the basement while ensuring that the window space is small enough to prevent break-ins. Other areas of a house where clerestory windows are appropriate include living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, attics and even remodeled garages. Clerestory windows are a good choice for a room in which the homeowner wants privacy while allowing air and light to enter, such as a sauna or bathroom.

Clerestory windows offer an opportunity to bring light into a house with a floating roof or to import light into the rear of a ground floor house which is built on a sloping site. An architect may suggest clerestory windows for a house which, otherwise, wouldn't be allowed to install a window in a particular wall because it would look out into a neighbor's house. Other spots for clerestory windows include under the eaves of a roof or along a long corridor.

[edit] Considerations

Although replacement clerestory windows are installed above eye level, it is important to purchase properly insulated clerestory windows. The amount of light that clerestory windows admit and their placement in an area where heat rises make it imperative for replacement clerestory windows to be energy efficient.

[edit] Framing Materials

Replacement clerestory windows are manufactured in a range of framing materials including vinyl, wood frames with aluminum cladding, composite, aluminum and fiberglass. Due to the placement of clerestory windows it is important that their frames not allow energy leakage. A clerestory window that is not properly insulated may cause energy leaks and result in high energy charges for the homeowner. Homeowners have a variety of window frames options for replacement clerestory windows.

[edit] Energy-Efficient Window Framing Materials

The U-Factor is a recognized industry standard rating which judges the rate at which a window's frame conducts heat. Windows with low U-factor ratings provide the greatest level of energy efficiency. Homeowners should investigate the U-Factor rating of any brand of replacement clerestory windows before placing an order. An efficient U-Factor rating will result in a purchase of a replacement clerestory window that is well-insulated and resists heat transfer.

Good energy efficient windows present a more costly window option but their ability to help a house maintain a comfortable temperature without excessive energy costs make them a cost-effective purchase. Furthermore, government incentives and rebates can offset a good portion of the cost of energy-efficient replacement windows.

[edit] Wood / Wood with Aluminum Cladding

Replacement clerestory windows which are manufactured with wood frames present an attractive window option. If the exterior frame sits under a roof or other covering, the wood frame clerestory window's exterior will be safe from rot or warping. If the exterior of the window is exposed to the elements, a wood-frame window with aluminum cladding is an energy efficient choice.

[edit] Aluminum

Old aluminum replacement clerestory window frames were an unefficient window choice but today's grades of aluminum offer a better insulated window option. Homeowners should check each aluminum window manufacturer to ascertain which manufacturer offers clerestory replacement windows which display the Energy Star seal of approval. This seal denotes a recognized energy-saving window.

[edit] Vinyl

Vinyl frames are a low-cost replacement clerestory window alternative. Vinyl windows are available in a variety of exterior and interior colors. Some vinyl window manufacturers are Energy Star windows which have sufficient insulation capabilities The National Green Building Standards for environmental residential construction approves many vinyl window choices.

[edit] Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a good frame insulator and is a growing clerestory replacement window option among home remodeling professionals. Fiberglass is available in a range of interior and exterior colors. It is a more expensive framing alternative than vinyl or aluminum.

[edit] Composite

Clerestory replacement composite windows are manufactured from different blends of materials which provide good insulation. Composite clerestory window frame alternatives include mixtures of wood chips and recycled plastic, vinyl with wood veneers and blends of fiberglass with interior wood cladding. These alternatives provide varying levels of energy efficiency. Many composite windows are Energy Star windows.

[edit] Glazing

The goal of installing clerestory windows to increase light penetration into a room make energy-efficient glazing an important component of replacement clerestory windows. These glazing alternatives are an appropriate choice for replacement clerestory windows of any shape or size.

[edit] Energy Efficient Glazing Choices

Energy efficient glazing cuts down the transfer of heat and cold through a clerestory window's glass and contributes to a more energy efficient window. Insulated panes and coated glazing raise the price of a window but the long-term energy savings allow homeowners to recoup the extra costs of the window within a few years through reduced energy costs. Government rebates and incentives further cushion the extra costs of energy-efficient glazing.

[edit] Multi-Pane Glazing

A double or triple pane replacement clerestory window provides a more insulating window option. The manufacturer seals the layers into the frame in the factory to seal them and prevent energy loss. In addition, an insulating gas option, argon or krypton, is pumped into the voids between the glass panes to augment the insulating capabilities of the window. Industry advisors suggest that homeowners install triple-pane replacement clerestory windows in extreme climates to insulate against the weather.

[edit] Low E Coating

The Low-emissivity (Low-E) reduces energy loss by 30% - 50%. It is an invisible metallic oxide which, when coated on replacement clerestory windows, controls the sun's heat transfer. Low-E coating is applied to the windows by the window manufacturer in the factory before installation.

[edit] Accessories

A variety of accessories, both standard and custom ordered, enhance a replacement clerestory window.

[edit] Grilles

Grilles for replacement clerestory windows are available in a variety of shades, sizes and shapes. Grilles for replacement clerestory windows are obtainable as grids, sunbursts, combinations of circles and lines and more. Grilles come in standard sizes for standard-sized clerestory windows or as custom-sized grilles. Grilles come as clip-ons or they can be installed between the panes of a double or triple pane window.

[edit] Hardware

Operable replacement clerestory windows come with hard plastic, brass, silver or bronze. Hardware includes locks, handles and cranks.

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