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A stylish alternative to traditional façades

Aug. 19, 2021

DYNAMIC FAÇADE FOR DYNAMIC SUNLIGHT MANAGEMENT

Static solar protection solutions like awnings, canopies, and brise-soleils have traditionally been used to help mitigate overheating in buildings, especially because they use passive design and are typically affordable. One major drawback is that these elements are fixed in place, and aren’t able to manage direct glare from the sun. 1

The intensity of sunlight changes depending on the time of day, the season, and the current weather conditions. Dynamic building shells optimize energy efficiency while managing light and heat influx, and provide an environment that offers thermal and visual comfort for its occupants.

 

A STYLISH ALTERNATIVE TO CONVENTIONAL DYNAMIC PROTECTION SYSTEMS

Aware of the appeal of dynamic, automated sunlight management, many designers are incorporating mechanical dynamic solar protection systems into new buildings.

Adjustable interior blinds that can be controlled by occupants are often used to control glare. But their effect is limited when it comes to dealing with overheating.2,3 Once lowered, the blinds also usually stay down, blocking natural light and outdoor views, which can have a negative impact on occupants’ well-being.

Removable or adjustable outdoor solar protection systems, like brise-soleils, shutters, roller blinds, or venetian blinds are also commonly used to manage light and heat. Their durability is limited, as they can deteriorate and corrode thanks to wind, humidity, and other weather and environmental conditions.

For true energy efficiency, buildings need smart sunlight management.4  As far as mechanical solar protection solutions go, even the best (and most expensive) come with drawbacks.

Mechanical solutions:

  • Require continued maintenance,which can be costly, especially when needed in a hard-to-access spot, like on the façade of a tall building; on a skylight; or in a cavity requiring openings (as with double-skin façades). 
  • Require complex cleaning on the glazing.
  • Often require more significant structural strength in the façade.
  • Often stop working when the wind or atmospheric currents at the top of a large building become too strong.6  This makes them particularly inefficient for tall buildings.
  • Mask or obstruct outdoor views, which are the reason for windows in the first place—and important for occupants’ wellbeing.7
  • Can be noisy and distracting to operate.

With SageGlass smart glazing, there’s no need for blinds or shutters to manage light and heat. Cleaning, maintenance, and usage costs for the façade are significantly reduced as a result. Natural light and outdoor views are preserved at all times. This makes SageGlass an appealing alternative for tackling the dual challenges of energy performance and occupant comfort, all while keeping costs under control. The absence of visible solar protection also gives architects the opportunity to design sleek, fully glazed façades, creating a coherent aesthetic for the entire building.


1 An investigation into the impact of movable solar shades on energy, indoor thermal and visual comfort improvements, J. Yao, 2013

2 Internal versus external shading devices performance in office buildings, A. Atzeri et al, 2014

3 The role of shading devices to improve thermal and visual comfort in existing glazed buildings, G. Evola et al, 2017

4 Dynamic shading systems: A review of design parameters, platforms and evaluation strategies, S. M. Al-Masrani et al, 2019

5 High-performance façades design strategies and applications in North America and Northern Europe, Z. Krystyna et al, 2011

6 In France, the FD DTU 34.4 P3 Shutters and Blinds provides necessary information regarding the choice of exterior shutters and blinds based on exposure in the location and the height of the building. Among other features, exterior blinds must be equipped with an automatic folding system in the case of strong winds.

7 World Green Building Council, 2013