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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Shading and Cooling: Impacts of Solar Control and Windows on Indoor Airflow


In a suitable climate, wind‐driven ventilative cooling has the potential to lowerdependence on fossil fuels in both new construction and building renovations by minimizing theamount of mechanical cooling energy used. Utilizing exterior shading with windows significantlyreduces the need for cooling by lowering solar heat gain, thus increasing the chances that lowenergycooling strategies, like natural ventilation, will work. While the main function of exteriorshading is to block direct sun, such projections also directly affect the incoming airflow throughopen windows, interior daylighting, and the building’s form and façade. Thus, exterior shadingis likely to obstruct airflow into the building3. Screen‐like shading systems mounted in front ofoperable windows are particularly susceptible to this effect.

Given the desire to shade and ventilate naturally, what is the affect of screen shadingsystems on the indoor airflow in the occupied zone? What combination of window and shademinimizes obstruction to, or perhaps even enhances, airflow?

This thesis examines these questions via wind tunnel tests of a low‐rise classroom‐likebuilding model with interchangeable shades and windows. This first chapter introduces thecore issues involved in this study: the tropical climate, tropical vernacular and modernbuildings, screen shades in contemporary architecture, and classroom buildings.

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