Openable Windows. Workplace Strategy and Innovation

Term Paper, 2017

11 Pages, Grade: 1,5


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Literature Review
2.1. Windows versus Windowless Structure
2.2. Openable Windows

3. Conclusion

4. References

Openable Windows

1. Introduction

Human well-being is one of the most important aspects of human existence and, in relation to architecture, it is enhanced by optimising several architectural parameters, such as temperature and humidity. This can be done by integrating a more holistic approach that supports human behaviour; according to Thaler and Sunstein (2008), human behaviour can be strongly influenced by context in which, decision making occurs, it can be affected by "choice architecture". This means that architecture can play an important role in an individual's decisions. The correlation between health and architecture has recently been established, and experts created a holistic awareness of architecture's role in health;. research has shown that illness can be a result of a poor architectural structure (Seemers, 2017). Therefore, Seemers (2017) further explained that there are limited solutions to optimise health parameters in universal design, so that it is vital for designers to incorporate direct health physical parameters, such as air quality to prevent health illnesses. It is also essential for designs to be responsive to behaviours and requirements of users. Guidelines for structural design that designers should consider, were suggested by Seemers (2017); location and nature, moving and access and indoor environmental quality.

One of the most important factors that needs to be considered in an architectural structure is natural light., since it has a range of benefits over electric light. An openable window, specifically with high head height, provides more access to daylight, which can help in the structure's light distribution (Steemers, 2008). Moreover, Kuller & Lindsten (1992, p 305) stated the daylight is an important factor in hormone production and regulation. This means that the importance of windows to work and well-being is now considered, and being studied by experts.

. The architectural structure of a building is an important factor to builders and users, however; psychological aspects have become a trend recently because studies show that both physiological and psychological processes have been related to openable windows; windows are part of structures, such that window sizes and position issues are of great interest The aim of this paper is to obtain an architectural understanding of openable windows in a work place, but it will focus more on openable windows in connection with human well-being. This topic is of contemporary value, since technological innovations have changed architectural structures, in which artificial lights are mostly integrated in providing light distribution to a workplace. A review of why people feel better when they are in a room in which windows can be opened at any time is also included.

2. Literature Review

Windows are aesthetic elements of a building or a structure, which provide ventilation and daylight; windows and doors are both considered architectural focal points of a structural design. According to Fehr (2009, p 89), windows provide the lowest insulation value in the building envelope, and are regarded as an energy liability in new construction. However, the efficiency of windows has improved remarkably and, based on the aspects of architecture, the type, size and location of windows affect cooling and heating costs. It is important for users to select good quality windows in order to achieve their purpose. Generally, a cost effective window has double glazed units with coatings and low emissivity (Fehr, 2009 p 89). There are several technical factors that need to be considered in installing windows on a structure, for instance it is important for windows to be well designed in order to reduce flare, fade in fabrics and comfort. An energy efficient window should have a low U-factor, moderate to high transmission rates of visible light, air leakage rate is low and low transmission of ultraviolet and infrared light energy (Fehr, 2009 p 90). Technically, these factors can easily be attained if the windows are installed properly.

2.1 Windows versus Windowless Structure

The trends in energy conservation in structural designs during the early 70s initiated the awareness of the effects of windows on human wellness. Collins (1975) argued that windows not only provided light and air but health benefits, such as relief from boredom, claustrophobia and other psychological illnesses that might lead to physical diseases (p 2). During the early research on the effects of windows, experts focused on comparing windowless buildings and those with windows and, according to Nimnicht (1966), the disadvantages of windowless buildings were their negative psychological effects on individuals. In workplaces, employees who work in a windowless office tend to complain about poor ventilation, lack of stimulation and boredom or feeling depressed (Ruy, 1970). However, Collins (1975) noted that it is satisfactory for some establishments such as department stores, theatres and cinemas to be without windows, since these structures have large interior space and people can move freely compared to workplaces, in which employees remain stationary for long periods of time. Generally, people prefer a structure with windows for psychological reasons (Collins, 1975), studies show that employees prefer to work in a place where they can access a view of the outside. Over the years, experts have continuously studied the effects of windows on individuals specifically in the work environments, and Sato and Unui (1994) found that offices without windows could affect employee performances, eye movements and reposing behaviour. These can be detrimental to an individual’s health since human well-being is affected.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Reduced Work Performance due to Building related Illnesses and Health conditions

(Source: Loftness et al, 2005)


Excerpt out of 11 pages


Openable Windows. Workplace Strategy and Innovation
Zurich University of Applied Sciences
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workplace windows wellbeing psychologisches wohlbefinden am arbeitsplatz öffenbare fenster
Quote paper
Sofiane Ternifi (Author), 2017, Openable Windows. Workplace Strategy and Innovation, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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