Due to the fact that construction, maintenance and operation of buildings consume almost 50% of the energy today, architects play a major role in the reduction of energy consumption. The building’s envelope (façades and roof) can have a significant and measurable impact. With regard to overheating and the potential lost of internal heat, transparent parts of the building envelope have a large effect on the building’s energy consumption. Modern, transparent façade systems can fulfill contemporary demands, such as energy conservation, energy production or the degree of visual contact, of sustainable buildings in order to reduce internal heating, cooling, and electrical loads. An analysis of existing shading devices and façade design leads to a comparative analysis of conventional shading devices like horizontal and vertical blinds as well as eggcrate and honeycomb shading structures in a hot-humid climate like Austin, Texas. This study by Stefan Bader helped evaluate strengths and weaknesses of each device resulting in an optimization process of conventional shading devices. Ultimately, an optimized shading structure has been developed.
This project aimed to develop an advanced transparent façade system for a south-oriented commercial façade in Austin, Texas, which fulfills high standards with regard to low energy use, by limiting cooling loads and demands for artificial lighting while avoiding glare and heat losses during the cold season. The optimization has been achieved in providing full shading for a specified period of time throughout the year while providing maximized solar exposure. The shading structure consists out of an array of fixed shading components varying in size and proportion to fulfill criteria like specific views, transparency and aesthetics. The shading structure has been compared to conventional shading devices and analyzed with regard to the reduction of annual solar radiation. The improvement in design and energy consumption contributes to the variety of shading structures for building skins. It is anticipated that the solutions will help to widen the options for aesthetically pleasing, high-performance façades for commercial buildings.