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Community and Q&A

Operable windows in a tight house: how many ?

user-1116814560 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

With all the emphasis on tight conctrustcion these days, how many operable windows does one really need ? I assume at least one in every room, but do you need more than that ? Fixed glass is cheaper and more durable, less mainatianence , and easier to repair replace if glass breaks,

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  1. brendanalbano | | #1

    "Need" for what? Need for code? Need for occupant comfort? Happiness? Health? Energy performance? Need is a tricky word!

    R303 in the IRC requires an operable window area of 4% of the floor area if you don't have a whole-house mechanical ventilation system. If I'm reading it right, if you have mechanical ventilation, the only operable windows you are required to have are those required for egress.

  2. user-1116814560 | | #2

    In my case Code- assume mechanical ventilation (why have a tight house and be opening up a bunch of windows ?)

  3. Expert Member

    A lot depends on context. If a house has a garden all around it, the operable windows help connect the rooms inside with the rest of the site. Conversely, there's no point opening a window onto nothing in particular.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    First of all, can you tell us your name? (I'm Martin.)

    As other posters had informed you, you need, at a minimum, to comply with code requirements. For more information on code requirements for emergency egress from bedrooms, see "How to Order Windows."

    Beyond minimum code requirements, everything else depends on your climate, the specifics of your site, and the likely preferences of the owners. One important question: Will your house have air conditioning? Houses without air conditioning need more operable windows than houses with air conditioning.

    People rarely feel like opening a window that faces the brick wall of a neighbor's home. Nor do people want to open a window facing a noisy city street.

    If you live in the country, and outdoor temperatures are mild for several weeks or months of the year, you may want lots of operable windows.

  5. user-1116814560 | | #5

    Martin- I am Doug (Dunno why I am appearing as a number - I checked my release papers and its not my convict number (LOL!)

    I will check out the thread you refer to thanks

    1. Trevor_Lambert | | #6

      Doug, you have to fill in the first and last name fields on your account profile. That's what is used for your display name, and if it's blank you get the "user-xxxxxxx" treatment.

  6. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #7

    We live in a tight house in Maine, with mechanical ventilation. But our heat is only on from early November to early April. And we only use air conditioning for maybe six or eight hot days. So for about half the year, we open our windows. A nice breeze, birds chirping, coyotes howling, etc. add to our enjoyment of life. We have lots of windows, and quite a few are openable. The only reason to have windows is to bring the outside in.

    1. ethant | | #8

      "The only reason to have windows is to bring the outside in."

      ...and minimum egress requirements from bedrooms and guest rooms/ finished basements.

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