Passiv Haus, Active House and Near Zero Energy are designs of the building that take advantage of technologies and materials to produce a building that requires less energy to heat and cool and operate it.
Large glazed areas with low U values are used to harvest free heating from the winter sun and maximise the benefits of natural daylight. This though can lead to overheating, not just in the summer but also on bright winter days. Dynamic external shading that can adapt to the weather conditions is essential to avoid the need to use energy to cool whilst still maximising daylight.
The cheapest energy is the energy that you do not need to use. Shading prevents heat build up rather than paying to remove it with cooling.
Effective control of the sun’s energy with shading has several benefits to reduce energy costs. In winter blinds will help insulate and reduce heating costs. Control of glare with shading increases productivity and staff comfort Properly managed shading will improve daylighting and reduce lighting costs In summer shading can reduce solar gain by over 90% and eliminate or reduce the need for cooling energy. All of these will improve productivity and well-being
For commercial and public buildings solar shading can have a positive impact on heating, cooling, glare control, lighting and glazing systems. To meet the economic and environmental imperatives of building design and refurbishment a holistic approach is a prerequisite. So solar shading must be considered and specified at the beginning of a project, not at the end when it’s too late to reap the benefits.
Solar shading is a proven energy saving technology, all that is needed is a better understanding of how to maximise those benefits.
Our industry has estimated that if the equipment that is already installed in our buildings is used efficiently then building energy costs could be reduced by as much as 10%. A zero cost solution, simply involving behavioural change.
This is an energy "easy win" but most gains will come from understanding and embracing the benefits at the design stage.
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If a product, over time, can actually save energy and reduce the need for having to produce energy then it is adding to a more sustainable system.
Shading is one of the few building products that save more energy than is needed throughout its life-cycle.
Studies have demonstrated that external shading can save almost 60 times more carbon than it uses from manufacture to disposal and almost all shading products have a positive outcome.
Building “green” is generally thought to add to project costs. The benefits are thought to accrue to the occupier with little benefit to the developer so why spend more.
A report by the World Green Building Council shows clearly that this is a misguided perception. The benefits to the occupier in operational cost savings are significant in productivity, wellness and employee comfort leading straight to the bottom line profit.
As the full significance of the benefits of leasing a Green building becomes a no-brainer that will lead to a demand premium and the value benefit for the building owner.
Effective shading is a significant yet hardly realised contributor to energy efficient design. Follow the link to realise how inclusion of shading in holistic design for lighting, cooling and heating will improve wellness and productivity and company performance.
The EU energy performance indicator is designed to provide consumers with accurate, recognisable and comparable information on domestic household products regarding energy consumption, performance and other essential characteristics. It allows consumers to identify how energy efficient a product actually is and to assess a product’s potential to reduce energy costs.
An energy performance indicator for shading has been developed by the European Solar Shading Organisation. This allows a comparison of windows with and without shading and shows that shading will almost always improve the energy performance of a window.
Comparing the best performing Solar Glass rating to that of an External Venetian Blind with first generation double glazing clearly shows the importance of the shading to the energy balance. Follow the link for more examples.