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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Lighting energy savings potential of split-pane electrochromic windows controlled for daylighting with visual comfort


A simulation study was conducted to evaluate lighting energy savings of split-pane electrochromic (EC) windows controlled to satisfy key visual comfort parameters. Using the Radiance lighting simulation software, interior illuminance and luminance levels were computed for a south-facing private office illuminated by a window split into two independently-controlled EC panes. The transmittance of these was optimized hourly for a workplane illuminance target while meeting visual comfort constraints, using a least-squares algorithm with linear inequality constraints. Blinds were successively deployed until visual comfort criteria were satisfied. The energy performance of electrochromics proved to be highly dependent on how blinds were controlled. With hourly blind position adjustments, electrochromics showed significantly higher (62percent and 53percent, respectively without and with overhang) lighting energy consumption than clear glass. With a control algorithm designed to better approximate realistic manual control by an occupant, electrochromics achieved significant savings (48percent and 37percent, respectively without and with overhang). In all cases, energy consumption decreased when the workplace illuminance target was increased. In addition, the fraction of time during which the occupant had an unobstructed view of the outside was significantly greater with electrochromics: 10 months out of the year versus a handful of days for the reference case.

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