German windows and shutters are better than most American designs

© 2017 Peter Free


05 July 2017



German windows are more functional than ours


They open two ways, tilted to vent at the top or swung completely open like a door. All of them are energy efficient, as well.


Tilting them in at the top allows one to leave them open in heavy rain with little risk of creating an indoor flood. And swinging them open like a door allows one to clean the outside pane of glass with minimal effort. This position also makes it easier to escape the house in a fire.


Photograph of German window that opens like a door.


To create a wall of light (like an American picture window), just set a string of door-like vertical windows into the wall.  The result is easy to clean and allows inhabitants to walk in and out through any of them. Handy.


Photograph of door-like German windows set side-by-side to create a picture window effect.


Exchanging air in the home is easy with these windows. On occasion, I'd open a few and create a gale-like wind through portions of the house.





Rouladen are sturdy German roll-up exterior shutters. They work for privacy, as well as energy conservation. Some operate manually, others electrically.


See the manual type here:



Willmuzik, German Windows- Rouladen, YouTube (24 August 2007)



Rouladen are made of horizontal metal slats (usually silver in color) on a roller. They roll down to any selected height. Even in the full down position, one can leave gaps between the slats that let light and air in, but still retain privacy (as in the below photograph). Fully down, they act like solid metal shutters.


Photgraph of German window with rouladen that is closed but still has air and light gaps.


Though rouladen rattle mildly in heavy wind, they do not flap like panel shutters often do.


Rouladen are particularly useful in summer on south and west-facing windows. They prevent solar heat gain through the glass. In winter, in the down position, they prevent snow and ice from collecting and falling inside the house, when you open everything up.


I found rouladen easy to clean. Roll them down, but leave the air gaps, and use a wet cloth to wipe both the slats and their interstices. The materials used to construct them seem to have been chosen to make it difficult for dirt to stick.



The moral? — German windows and rouladen impressed me


They are more functionally designed and noticeably better built than most of our American versions. If I had to select just one German thing to copy, windows would be it.