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Integrating advanced facades into high performance buildings

  • Author(s): Selkowitz, Stephen E.
  • et al.
Abstract

Glass is a remarkable material but its functionality is significantly enhanced when it is processed or altered to provide added intrinsic capabilities. The overall performance of glass elements in a building can be further enhanced when they are designed to be part of a complete facade system. Finally the facade system delivers the greatest performance to the building owner and occupants when it becomes an essential element of a fully integrated building design. This presentation examines the growing interest in incorporating advanced glazing elements into more comprehensive facade and building systems in a manner that increases comfort, productivity and amenity for occupants, reduces operating costs for building owners, and contributes to improving the health of the planet by reducing overall energy use and negative environmental impacts. We explore the role of glazing systems in dynamic and responsive facades that provide the following functionality: Enhanced sun protection and cooling load control while improving thermal comfort and providing most of the light needed with daylighting; Enhanced air quality and reduced cooling loads using natural ventilation schemes employing the facade as an active air control element; Reduced operating costs by minimizing lighting, cooling and heating energy use by optimizing the daylighting-thermal tradeoffs; Net positive contributions to the energy balance of the building using integrated photovoltaic systems; Improved indoor environments leading to enhanced occupant health, comfort and performance. In addressing these issues facade system solutions must, of course, respect the constraints of latitude, location, solar orientation, acoustics, earthquake and fire safety, etc. Since climate and occupant needs are dynamic variables, in a high performance building the facade solution have the capacity to respond and adapt to these variable exterior conditions and to changing occupant needs. This responsive performance capability can also offer solutions to building owners where reliable access to the electric grid is a challenge, in both less-developed countries and in industrialized countries where electric generating capacity has not kept pace with growth. We find that when properly designed and executed as part of a complete building solution, advanced facades can provide solutions to many of these challenges in building design today.

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