Energy efficiency of a dynamic glazing system
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The reduction of air-conditioning energy consumptions is one of the main indicators to act on when improving the energy efficiency in buildings. In the case of advanced technological buildings, a meaningful contribution to the thermal loads and the energy consumptions reduction could depend on the correct configuration and management of the envelope systems. In recent years, the architectural trend toward highly transparent all-glass buildings presents a unique challenge and opportunity to advance the market for emerging, smart, dynamic window and dimmable daylighting control technologies (Lee et al., 2004). A prototype dynamic glazing system was developed and tested at ITC-CNR; it is aimed at actively responding to the external environmental loads. Both an experimental campaign and analyses by theoretical models were carried out, aimed at evaluating the possible configurations depending on different weather conditions in several possible places. Therefore, the analytical models of the building-plant system were defined by using a dynamic energy simulation software (EnergyPlus). The variables that determine the system performance, also influenced by the boundary conditions, were analysed, such as U- and g-value; they concern both the morphology of the envelope system, such as dimensions, shading and glazing type, gap airflow thickness, in-gap airflow rate, and management, in terms of control algorithm parameters tuning fan and shading systems, as a function of the weather conditions. The configuration able to provide the best performances was finally identified by also assessing such performances, integrating the dynamic system in several building types and under different weather conditions. The dynamic envelope system prototype has become a commercial product with some applications in facade systems, curtain walls and windows. The paper describes the methodological approach to prototype development and the main results obtained, including simulations of possible applications on real buildings.