If you’re like me, every time you head into a big downtown area you look up at all the tall buildings. I don’t know about you, but I’m drawn in particular to all the modern buildings with their glass facades glinting in the sun.
Your first thought is probably something along the lines of “Wow, that’s a lot of windows!”
My first thought is usually, “Wow, that’s a lot of solar control products!”
It’s one of the ironies of modern architecture and design that in attempting to build more sustainable and comfortable structures and get as much natural daylight as possible inside, we can sometimes accomplish the opposite.
All that glass means we can reduce energy used to light and heat buildings, and there are documented improvements in health and productivity related to daylight and views. Unfortunately, it also means we have to use more energy to cool those buildings, and to sometimes make up for heat loss. In addition, there are new issues created, such as glare.
This is true whether we’re talking about conventional glass, or the so-called “smart glass” technologies which are good, but can only go so far in mitigating heat and glare problems.
I recently came across an article touching on this very problem by architect and Life Cycle Assessment consultant David Baggs. David leads the Global GreenTag Green Product Certification program, so you can take it he is an expert on sustainability issues in building design. In a piece entitled “All-Glass Facades Won’t Exist in Sustainable Cities,” he puts forward a prediction: unshaded all-glass façade buildings “have no place in sustainable cities of the future.”
The most important part of the article—at least to me—comes toward rthe end. That’s when he starts talking about something we at Draper have already been preaching: fixed or operable exterior shading is the solution to the problems he outlines in his article.
Click here to read David’s article and let me know what you think: how big a role will solar control product s like those offered by Draper play in the sustainable cities of the future?