Make Resiliency Part of the Design Conversation

Make Resiliency Part of the Design Conversation

August 01, 2022

Prioritize resilient design with thoughtful choices when building a new home or improving an existing one.

How do we answer the challenge of building back better and stronger? We prioritize resilient design, supported with durable materials and high-performance products. Whether building a new home or improving an existing one, thoughtful choices can create enduring homes that also are beautiful, comfortable and instill peace of mind.

VistaLuxe WD LINE direct sets, casements and outswing doors, creating a wall of windows

Redefining resiliency

The word resiliency is often used interchangeably with “toughness.” Even though the words are synonymous, there is an important distinction between the two. While toughness denotes an inherent strength that allows something to withstand hardship, resiliency is the capacity to speedily recover or bounce back.

Resiliency indicates an active ability rather than a passive quality, signifying more of a balancing act between durability and adaptation than mere hardness. The implication of this distinction when we talk of resiliency in architecture is profound, particularly in the choice of windows and doors.

When the priority is to make a structure as strong as possible, it often is at the sacrifice of beauty, comfort and connection. A successful, resilient home design requires thought and intention in response to numerous, equally important goals for immediate concerns and future adversity.

modern windows and doors

Biophilic bridge

Bridging between the interior and exterior, windows and doors are prime candidates to receive special consideration when designing to enhance both structural resiliency and personal connections with environment through views, daylight and fresh air. Biophilic design elevates the use of natural materials, access to the outdoors and an emphasis on overall wellness.

VistaLuxe WD LINE geometric direct sets and Ultra Series TerraSpan lift & slide doors

Kolbe Windows & Doors offers a breadth of wood species to communicate a truly tactile and soothing experience. These options include less common and exotic wood species, sustainably sourced from managed forests, and Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)-certified wood species (FSC® license code FSC-C019541). Our Heritage Series offers carefully crafted products with a wood interior and exterior. Our VistaLuxe® Collection’s WD LINE and Ultra Series windows and doors present a resilient extruded aluminum exterior while reserving the wood for the interior.

VistaLuxe WD LINE rectangular and trapezoidal direct sets
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Protective performance

Windows and doors’ multifunctional roles also help protect us from the undesirable natural elements. As weather and climate change with the seasons and the years, high-performance selections resist high wind, hurricane impact, heavy rain and snow, direct sunlight, intense heat and more.

Kolbe’s glass and framing options deliver the specified performance required to meet each home’s unique conditions. Different combinations can be used on the same home, customized to each room or elevation, to finetune the total structure’s comprehensive performance.

In colder, northern climates, it may be acceptable to have glass that allows solar heat gain to help warm the interior in winter months. For hotter, southern climates, low-emissivity (Low-E) glass coatings may be imperative to keeping out the unwanted heat. Where wildfires are becoming more frequent, tempering of the exterior glass panes and choosing insulated units will help resist extreme heat.

On the left: VistaLuxe WD LINE direct sets, casements , exterior swing doors, and sliding door and on the right: VistaLuxe WD LINE awnings and direct sets.
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For urban homes, glass with high acoustic performance can preserve quiet interiors. Where noise is not a concern and there’s an opportunity for natural ventilation, products verified by the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offer a proven alternative to air conditioning. When closed, these windows and doors ensure high thermal performance.

Forgent Series casement windows and complementary sliding door with transom

In locations with extreme temperature fluctuations, Kolbe’s thermally broken all-aluminum VistaLuxe AL LINE and Forgent Series with Glastra® also provide a high level of consistent, interior comfort and year-round energy efficiency. Coupling high thermal performance products with renewable energy sources are key factors in reducing resource consumption, lowering carbon emissions and achieving net zero energy goals.

VistaLuxe WD LINE direct sets and awnings
Pine interior, with a Coal Black Finish

A wall of windows is a fantastic way to create an exceptional daylit design, but direct exposure can damage artwork, furnishings and interior finishes. Glass with Low-E coatings reduce infrared and ultraviolet light transmission, protecting valuables inside the room while promoting expansive views and natural daylighting.

on the left black double hung windows with divider lites, on the right large custom double hung windows with divider lites
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Durable, yet distinctive design

Many houses last for 100 years or longer, and we have the knowledge and products to continue improving on the past. Freedom and flexibility in design are essential when building or renovating a resilient home. Long-lasting, high-performance and sustainable materials can expand your choices, rather than limit them.

Windows and doors are available in durable materials that can extend the life of the product and your home, while accommodating customizable versatility. While wood is a renewable, organic resource, metal can be specified with recycled content and is infinitely recyclable. Consider extruded aluminum exteriors with a choice of architectural anodized or painted finishes. These high-performance finishes offer a low-maintenance solution that protects the exterior aluminum framing. The finishes come in a nearly unlimited palette of colors to match any architectural style.

In coastal areas, hardware and componentry also may be upgraded to lengthen the serviceable life of the total product. Stainless steel usually is considered the optimal choice for saltwater corrosion resistance, continual ease of operation, long lifespan and timeless appearance.

on the left: white large double hung windows on the right: black direct set  and geometric windows
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Sample solution

Kolbe’s Forgent Series windows and doors offer a model example of an all-around resilient product offering. Made from our proprietary Glastra material, the fiberglass-infused polymer construction features integral thermal performance enhancements for increased comfort and energy efficiency. The framing components are extremely durable and impact rated. Its base material is more resistant to salt accumulation than aluminum, making these windows and doors ideal for coastal environments. They are simple, convenient, and easy to install – ideal for new construction or replacement. Once in place on the home, they remain low maintenance and are recyclable at the end of their long life.

island view home with crank out casement windows

Designing for resilience and building back better fundamentally seek a personalized solution adapted to global and local conditions. As every architect knows, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting the best products. For ideal results, find a partner who offers well-built, high-quality windows and doors with customizable features, along with the experience and warranty to back up their products.

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