One of the most recognized traits of a Hawaii home is the Jalousie Windows.
‘Jalousie’ is the technical designation for what you are likely familiar with as ‘louvered’ windows.
They consist of a series of horizontal slats, which overlap and are may be contained inside a pane of glass. Usually some sort of crank device is employed to operate the window, and rotate the slats to open and close them. Jalousie windows can be constructed out of a huge variety of materials, including glass, metal, plastic, and wood.
So what makes this style of window so popular in Hawaii?
In a nutshell, it’s the climate. During the time most of the homes on the islands were being constructed, most window designs opened from the bottom or side only. Jalousie windows allow the entire surface area of the window to be opened, which facilitates airflow.
This enhanced air flow has the side-effect of cooling homes, making this style quite popular in warm climates across the globe. There are other benefits to employing this style of window as well. You can adjust your slats to face downward to keep them open even during the rain, and they even help with dispersing cooking odors from your kitchen!
Jalousie windows do have some drawbacks as well, however. One of the biggest is that it is nearly impossible to create a good seal because the slats are designed to overlap rather than fit together. This means that as far as energy efficiency, this design leaves a lot to be desired. Additionally, the fact that the window is comprised of individual slats can be a real security risk. Intruders can actually remove parts of the window from the outside and gain easy entry to the property.
So is this style of window right for you?
The first thing to do is to check your local building codes and speak with your contractor. They will be able to discuss the pros and cons of this alternative window styling in more detail with you, and help you determine if it is something that would work well for your home.