Gifford House, Devon

Name of project

Gifford House






Project requirements

In their efforts to take a positive step towards an ‘eco-friendly’ lifestyle, engineer Richard Quincey and his wife came to the conclusion that their ideal property would have to be built from scratch. As well as ensuring the finished design resulted in low energy demands, they also wanted as much natural light as possible - not only to give it a bright and airy feeling, but also to ensure the use of electric lighting was kept to a minimum.


An important factor in achieving the high levels of insulation, and light ingress into the building, was the specification of the Aldus range of windows from Rationel Windows and Doors. Aldus offers the "best of both worlds". The window itself is made from solid softwood timber sections, while the exterior face houses an aluminium cladding to further enhance the insulation and durability, and reduce even further the maintenance demands. The robust fixing system makes use of synthetic clips, which ensure the aluminium cladding is not in direct contact with the timber – allowing ventilation and drainage in all necessary areas. As part of the programme to bring as much natural light and ambient heat into the property, two full-height (two-storey) window installations were constructed. Known as the ‘Winter Garden’, it acts as a thermal buffer in summer months, whilst during the winter it is a collector of solar energy.


While the Rationel range of timber windows and doors already enjoys the benefits of low maintenance demands combined with long maintenance cycles, the Aldus – with its aluminium cladding – further enhances these features. The aluminium itself is powder-coated, with a wide range of RAL colour options available. On this particular scheme, a slate grey shade (RAL 7015) was seen as being a suitable contrast for the timber cladding and natural stone walls. Internally, the windows are finished with a translucent wood stain to make the beauty of the natural timber an important part of the internal decoration. Automatic mechanical window controls can be found on the installation to bring the required and necessary levels of ventilation, while the glass used has been developed to provide advanced sound insulation properties combined with excellent energy and solar advantages. Rationel’s part of the contract included the supply of fixed-light and side-hung windows along with double sliding patio doors, Tilt & Turn terrace doors and a panelled entrance door, with other windows including sideguided, topswing and combination units. All ground floor windows were supplied to Secured by Design specification.

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