The Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center recently published a study estimating the cost of energy-efficient window replacements.

The center discovered that window costs varied considerably—between $200 to $980 per window! Moreover, the average installation costs were 15%-20% higher than the insurance industry estimates.

Fortunately, developers don’t have to be caught off-guard by window installation and upgrade costs.

They need to do a little research ahead of time. Part of that research should investigate the different window design and installation options available on the market—including punched windows.

Punched windows are an increasingly popular choice due to their versatility, energy efficiency, and comparatively low cost. But, are they suitable for your building?

Read on for the answer!

What Are Punched Windows?

Punched windows are a specific window style in exterior building design. This style punches a rectangular frame into the side of a building, then sets it in a separate window.

The exterior and interior walls surfaces around the window extrude farther out past the window’s surface. The window’s glass is isolated from other windows.

Punched windows can be placed idiosyncratically, according to the preferences of the architect or designer. They do not need to be parallel to one another. Nor do they have to be rectangles.

The “punched window” style contrasts with “grid-style” windows. Grid-style windows are standard on skyscrapers. These windows are part of a large “grid” framework, and their glass is not segregated from other windows’ glass.

Punched Windows vs. Other Commercial Window Options

When it comes to commercial buildings, the most common alternatives to punched windows are grid-style windows. That said, there are a wide variety of commercial windows on the market. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Fixed windows
  • Curtain windows
  • Ribbon windows
  • Skylights
  • Metal windows
  • Sliding windows
  • Double-hung windows
  • Pivot windows
  • Casement windows

Some of these window styles can be combined with the “punched” design. For example, some designers will use a “punched” frame to hang casement windows, though the casement windows themselves are part of a small grid.

Likewise, pivot windows can be a single pane of glass isolated from other glass in the wall with a punched frame. But, the pivot element gives the window more movement than a typical punch window.

There are merits to each of these varieties. Yet, many designers find that punched windows offer benefits they can’t get with other options.

Top 6 Benefits of Punched Windows

Punched windows offer a variety of benefits to people who live and work in commercial properties.

Some of these benefits are easy to quantify. Others are more nebulous yet still offer a considerable, positive quality-of-life enhancement to tenants. Here are the six most notable positive attributes of the window style.

1. High Energy Efficiency

Punched windows enable architects to increase the mass of insulation between the building’s exterior and interior.

Insulation helps maintain the building’s internal temperature, allowing building managers to spend less on central heating and cooling.

These windows also let designers make strategic choices about framing. Windows that are more likely to lose heat quickly in the winter due to their location can be framed with material that offers greater insulation.

In contrast, windows that are more protected from the cold due to the building’s shape won’t require insulation-enhanced frames, limiting that expense.

Likewise, because each window is separated from the others, architects can selectively choose window glasses and plastics that generate solar power—but only in locations that receive direct sunlight.

This strategy limits the cost of your up-front investment in solar-electric materials, getting you to the payoff sooner.

2. Enhanced Privacy

Nobody wants to be stuck in a fishbowl. Office workers, patients at a doctor’s office, and hotel guests may appreciate the natural light a window lets in. But, they typically don’t want to be seen.

Punched office windows enhance designers’ ability to create genuinely private rooms.

It allows designers to incorporate glass at angles or implement vision control treatments. This lets people see out of a room while it prevents outsiders from looking into it.

Besides privacy enhancements, punched windows give designers greater access control. This is particularly useful in high-security government buildings and prisons.

3. Affordability

Punched windows often cost less than comparable window designs.

For example, if a building developer opts for ribbon-style or curtain-style windows, they’ll need to spend more on the glass to fill all the spaces.

Whereas punched windows let you limit window space to the regions you need it most. That cuts out the expense of glass you don’t want.

Note that the cost-efficacy of these windows depends on your frame choices. Expensive frames can still put you over the top of your budget.

4. Compatibility With Many Frame Options

Frames can make or break a window’s design. For instance, square windows are unique, and they can give a building a fun, quirky aesthetic. Or, they can provide a zen-like symmetry.

Experimenting with your window frame’s shape, materials, and color can take your building’s facade in exciting directions. This is all far easier with punched windows.

5. Significant Customizability (Glass, Materials, Openings)

Punched window designs offer room for different glass choices in a single building. For instance, high-security quarters may call for bulletproof glass, while that expense is unnecessary in other regions.

Because a punched window isolates the glass, it’s easy to manipulate the angle or position of the bulletproof glass to disguise it—cultivating a seamless visual sensibility among bulletproof and typical windows.

Likewise, punched designs offer opportunities for UV-treated or frosted glass in specific locations—without sacrificing visual uniformity.

You can also easily optimize the window hinges in different locations with these windows.

For example, windows on the lower floor may be best equipped with turn openings in a tall building. Yet, windows on upper stories work better with tilt openings.

The punch window design allows windows with various openings to maintain a consistent appearance.

6. Viewpoint Choice, Layering

Punched windows work with a wide range of architectural aesthetics. For example, standard large commercial buildings often opt for a “sleek” glass design.

But, because the sleek style is so commonplace, many new building owners have begun to find it boring. Instead, modern real estate developers increasingly seek unique design elements that help a building stand out.

Punched windows’ versatility gives architects a lot of options to work with. Experiments with layering and diverse viewpoints can enhance a building’s curb appeal. The versatility of the design choice enhances that style potential.

Supreme, Versatile, Phenomenal Windows

Maybe you’re looking for punched windows to elevate your design. Or, perhaps, you need to work with historical buildings with unique, era-specific punched openings.

No matter your situation, the master window makers at Supreme Window can help. Contact our experts today for a free consultation and quote.