People who live in glass houses
August 29, 2008
Wall-to-wall windows have become a signature of chic urban living, from Minneapolis to Miami. Home magazines and real-estate ads depict fashionable people in glass-walled towers lounging in front of endless views. But some residents say the reality can be less glamorous. Their windows often are streaked or spotty, even when washed regularly. The sun fades not just furniture but also kitchen cabinets, wood floors, artwork and even books. While urbanites are used to nearby neighbors, a glass-walled apartment without shades can be akin to being on display in a terrarium, especially at night. And temperatures near the glass can be chilly in the winter and roasting in the summer.
Glass technology has improved. To cut down on sun damage and heat transfer, window makers use films on the surface and gases between the double panes that act as insulators, such as argon. Some windows even have a coating designed to shed dirt and reduce the need for washing. But problems continue, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal Aug. 29.