Glass Glossary


Last Updated: November 23, 2023

Fenestration is a term used in architecture and building design to refer to the arrangement, design, and construction of windows, doors, skylights, and other openings in a building envelope. These openings are essential for providing natural light, ventilation, and aesthetic appeal to a structure. Fenestration plays a crucial role in determining the overall energy efficiency, comfort, and aesthetic appeal of a building.

There are several factors to consider in fenestration design, including:

  1. Placement: The location of windows and doors can influence natural lighting, ventilation, and views. Proper placement can enhance the building’s energy efficiency and occupant comfort.
  2. Size: The size of the openings affects the amount of natural light and ventilation entering the space.
  3. Type: Different types of windows and doors (e.g., casement, awning, sliding, etc.) offer varying levels of ventilation, insulation, accessibility, and ease of operation.
  4. Glazing: The type of glass used in fenestration affects energy efficiency, light transmission, and aesthetics. Options include single, double, or triple glazing, as well as low-emissivity (low-E) coatings and tinted or reflective glass
  5. Frame Material: The choice of frame material impacts the durability, insulation, and maintenance of the fenestration. Common materials include wood, composites, fiberglass, vinyl, and aluminum.
  6. Thermal Performance: Fenestration products are often rated for their thermal performance, including U-factor (heat transfer), Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (solar radiation), and Visible Light Transmittance (natural light).

Fenestration is a key consideration in sustainable building design, as it directly influences energy consumption, indoor air quality, and occupant comfort. Proper fenestration design can reduce heating and cooling costs, improve indoor environmental quality, and contribute to the overall safety and aesthetic appeal of a building.