Advanced Interactive Facades - Critical Elements for Future GreenBuildings?

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Building designers and owners have always been fascinated with the extensive use of glass in building envelopes. Today the highly glazed facade has almost become an iconic element for a 'green building' that provides daylighting and a visual connection with the natural environment. Even before the current interest in green buildings there was no shortage of highly glazed building designs. But many of these buildings either rejected sunlight, and some associated daylight and view with highly reflective glazings or used highly transmissive glass and encountered serious internal comfort problems that could only be overcome with large HVAC systems, resulting in ... continued below

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Selkowitz, Stephen; Aschehoug, Oyvind & Lee, Eleanor S. November 1, 2003.

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Building designers and owners have always been fascinated with the extensive use of glass in building envelopes. Today the highly glazed facade has almost become an iconic element for a 'green building' that provides daylighting and a visual connection with the natural environment. Even before the current interest in green buildings there was no shortage of highly glazed building designs. But many of these buildings either rejected sunlight, and some associated daylight and view with highly reflective glazings or used highly transmissive glass and encountered serious internal comfort problems that could only be overcome with large HVAC systems, resulting in significant energy, cost and environmental penalties. From the 1960's to the 1990's innovation in glazing made heat absorbing glass, reflective glass and double glazing commonplace, with an associated set of aesthetic features. In the last decade there has been a subtle shift from trying to optimize an ideal, static design solution using these glazings to making the facade responsive, interactive and even intelligent. More sophisticated design approaches and technologies have emerged using new high-performance glazing, improved shading and solar control systems, greater use of automated controls, and integration with other building systems. One relatively new architectural development is the double glass facade that offers a cavity that can provide improved acoustics, better solar control and enhanced ventilation. Taken to its ultimate development, an interactive facade should respond intelligently and reliably to the changing outdoor conditions and internal performance needs. It should exploit available natural energies for lighting, heating and ventilation, should be able to provide large energy savings compared to conventional technologies, and at the same time maintain optimal indoor visual and thermal comfort conditions. As photovoltaic costs decrease in the future, these onsite power systems will be integrated within the glass skin and these facades will become local, non-polluting energy suppliers to the building. The potential for facilitating sustainable building operations in the future by exploiting these concepts is therefore great. There is growing interest in highly glazed building facades, driven by a variety of architectural, aesthetic, business and environmental rationales. The environmental rationale appears plausible only if conventional glazing systems are replaced by a new generation of high performance, interactive, intelligent facade systems, that meet the comfort and performance needs of occupants while satisfying owner economic needs and broader societal environmental concerns. The challenge is that new technology, better systems integration using more capable design tools, and smarter building operation are all necessary to meet these goals. The opportunity is to create a new class of buildings that are both environmentally responsible at a regional or global level while providing the amenities and working environments that owners and occupants seek.

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  • GreenBuild 2003, Pittsburgh, PA, November 12-14,2003

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  • Report No.: LBNL--53876
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923333
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902784

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  • November 1, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2016, 1:37 p.m.

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Selkowitz, Stephen; Aschehoug, Oyvind & Lee, Eleanor S. Advanced Interactive Facades - Critical Elements for Future GreenBuildings?, article, November 1, 2003; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902784/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.