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Buildings Technologies Information Gaps Filled by New Sources

A new pair of information sources-a website and a recently published book-fill gaps in knowledge about building façades and daylighting. Although materials abound that show photos and drawings of modern building façades, little has been written about the actual performance of modern buildings; the Environmental Energy Technologies Division's (EETD's) new High-Performance Commercial Buildings Façades website (http://gaia.lbl.gov/hpbf/) contributes much-needed knowledge in this area. Another recently completed effort, "Daylight in Buildings: A Source Book on Daylighting Systems and Components," written and edited in part by EETD Building Technologies scientists, promotes advanced daylighting technologies and daylight-conscious building design.

High-Performance Commercial Building Façades Website

High-Performance Commercial Building Facades Website.

Figure 1. High-Performance Commercial Building Facades Website

Modern office buildings are often constructed with all-glass façades, a trend associated with buildings that have "green" design goals: energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and optimized operations and maintenance. A variety of energyefficient technological solutions, including daylighting, solar heat gain controls, and advanced ventilation and space-conditioning devices, are incorporated in these commercial building façades. The intensive use of glass and coatings in these buildings can raise construction costs considerably, but the claims that these façade elements save energy remain largely unsupported because there has been little critical examination of the actual performance of these buildings. In addition, some designs are so site- and climate-specific that reproducing them elsewhere can lead to unexpected results.

The primary goal of the High-Performance Commercial Buildings Façades website (Figure 1) is to clarify what is known about the performance of advanced building façades so California building owners and designers can make informed decisions about the value of these building concepts for meeting energy-efficiency, ventilation, productivity, and sustainability design goals.

The website contains links to information about technology, design, building performance, case studies, and resources. The case studies section includes further links to photos, plans, and other technical information about recently constructed buildings.

Daylighting Source Book Published

The importance of lighting in office and other non-residential buildings cannot be disputed. In particular, the quality, spectral composition, and variability of daylight strongly affect occupants' reactions to the indoor environment, from creating pleasant conditions that provide adequate illumination for tasks to creating uncomfortable conditions such as solar glare. The many possible effects of daylight need to be considered when daylighting systems are designed.

Daylight in Buildings: A Source Book on Daylighting Systems and Components

Figure 2. Daylight in Buildings: A Source Book on Daylighting Systems and Components

With the publication of "Daylight in Buildings: A Source Book on Daylighting Systems and Components" (http://gaia.lbl.gov/iea21/), lighting designers have a new planning resource to use when considering innovative daylighting concepts for nonresidential buildings. The book (Figure 2), written and published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), lays out original observations related to daylighting-conscious building design and describes and assesses the performance of innovative daylighting strategies. Stressing that lighting needs to be included at the beginning of the design process, the authors of the "Source Book" use demonstrations from test rooms and models to make cases for sensible architectural solutions. Chapter topics include daylighting in building design, including rooms, windows and adjacent spaces; performance parameters for visual comfort, thermal comfort, building energy use (including lighting energy, space-conditioning energy use, and peak demand); as well as more advanced and complex concepts such as light shelves, louvers, prismatic panels, and laser-cut panels.

The "Source Book" is the result of IEA's Solar Heating and Cooling Programme Task 21. Among the authors are EETD scientists Eleanor Lee and Steve Selkowitz. Both also worked as editors for the book.

— Ted Gartner

For more information, contact:

  • Eleanor Lee
  • (510) 486-4997; fax (510) 486-4089

EETD High-Performance Commercial Buildings Façades website

Website contents can be downloaded as a pdf.

Daylight in Buildings: A Source Book on Daylighting Systems and Components

Copies of the book may be obtained from JeShana Dawson, JLDawson@lbl.gov.

This research was supported by the International Energy Agency; Southern California Edison through the California Institute for Energy Efficiency (CIEE), a research unit of the University of California; and the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs.

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