The glass houses trend

Across the United Kingdom, there is a growing trend in the demand for glass features in our homes and houses. From new technological advances that supply more effective and efficient materials, to the increased awareness in the wellbeing properties of natural light, there are various factors that have incited this surge in the use of glass in our homes. The popularity of informational television shows, too, has had an impact allowing us to see the full potential of the living spaces we occupy when we shed more light on them.

Walls of glass, skylights and roof lanterns

There are many options available to brighten up our homes, from glass partitions to overhead skylights. These transparent parts to our homes can blur the lines between interior and exterior creating space in a world that can often seem a little cramped and crowded at times.

In our built-up world, side windows no longer receive natural light in great quantities, so letting in the light to our homes from above where the flow is less disrupted can be an excellent solution. Roof lanterns are an architectural element that allows daylight to filter into our homes. These glass and often aluminium-framed features are fitted on top of a larger roof to let natural light shine into the room located beneath.

Rooms with views and natural light

As creatures of nature, we also gain a comfort and sense of peace by feeling in contact with our natural world. Research has shown that we are also more productive and happy within ourselves when afforded a view. The idea of, to some extent, dissolving those barriers between inside and outside can allow us to reconnect visually with nature in our garden via a glass-panelled wall or to the trees towering above our house seen through our roof lantern. Skylights situated in bedrooms can help us sleep more peacefully with a tranquil view of the night sky overhead, or the sound of soft rain falling against the glass.

The popularity of natural light in our homes has increased considerably in recent years, and our growing awareness of its benefits is partly responsible for this. Studies have shown that natural light can have both emotional and psychological advantages to the human mind, as well as wider benefits to our health. Exposed to this light from the sun, science suggests we are happier, calmer and more productive. Sunlight is our main method of obtaining vitamin D and natural light is used to regulate sufferers of disorders such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Glass walls and windows, as well as atriums and skylights, maximise the natural light entering our homes and thereby increase our personal feelings of wellbeing.

The style factor and creating space

There is no doubt that adding glass-panelled walls or extensive glass features to the exterior of our homes ramps up their aesthetic values. There is a need among many of us today to stay current and be living firmly in the progressive present we inhabit. The strong use of glass can keep the look and feel of our homes contemporary and deliver a design that definitely depicts a sense of our modern world.

Television programmes such as Grand Designs have been cited a strong influence on our desire for glass in our homes. Seeing stylish solutions put into practice and actually working can be an encouraging factor. Areas of our homes that we spend less time in because of darkness can be upgraded significantly by illuminating them and making them feel bright and airy.

In spite of the heavily populated world in which we live, there is a constant desire for space. Clear areas expand the boundaries of the space we possess, allowing us to feel less encapsulated. Making the very most of the room we do have at our disposal can be highly rewarding and an option worth taking advantage of.

Seeing the potential in our own homes through others’ examples can’t be underestimated and can actually transform what felt like an enclosed space into an open living area we can make use of.

Scientific advances and additional benefits

What was once impossible and expensive is no longer so. Scientific advances and improved materials allow the creation of architectural elements for letting in natural light that can be readily available to homeowners.

Both extremely durable and slimline aluminium-framed roof lanterns are now possible. Once limited, these lighting elements can now be created with a minimal profile and materials that maximise the area of glass with panels – now able to be 1.5 to 2.5 metres in width due to their strength. In terms of insulation, thermal transmittance, otherwise known as U-value, is far lower than ever. It is available with U-values of 1.5, but can be even lower if triple glazing is chose.

Many of these glass architectural elements can now be opened and closed, from skylights to glass panel doors that lead outside. This helpful attribute can allow cross ventilation through our homes, keeping the air inside continuously refreshed.

Rooms and living spaces within our houses that are darker cost us money in terms of lighting them artificially during the daytime. By illuminating these areas of our homes with natural light, we can make a notable savings on our energy outgoings, particularly through the brighter months of the year in spring and summer.

The future of glass houses

With the urgent need for a sense of space ever on the increase, the trend for houses with glass architectural features seems set to continue. As natural creatures, our lives are improved immeasurably by the proximity of living things experienced through views from our windows. Our living spaces lit by the natural power of our sun can create a sense of wellbeing within us, making us happier and more productive in our lives.

Scientific research into both the materials used and how they can be applied will endeavour to offer us new possibilities when it comes to letting the precious gift of light into our homes.

Posted by Mark
April 2, 2019

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