Shading allows large areas of glazing to be used with all the benefits that brings
Glass has been described as a building’s eyes to the world. Glazing allows natural light transmission, views to the outside, winter heat harvesting in addition to the aesthetics of the design.
One way to reduce heat gain and loss through the building envelope is to use less glass in a building but this can have serious impacts on:
- Harvesting natural light. Daylight is a free and a zero carbon source of light
- Using passive solar gain in the winter to heat the building
- Providing views and connection with the outside or the health and wellbeing of staff
Solar shading allows more glass to be used as it provides control of heat and light gain when needed.
The Shard in London is an excellent example of this design principle where the occupants of this fully glazed building (residents, hotel guests and office workers) enjoy thermal and visual comfort through the effective use of automated solar shading, linked to environmental sensors.
Glazing is typically static and yet the environment in which we live and work is dynamic. Heat and light is changing throughout the day, literally within seconds and solar shading can provide the control needed.
This is acknowledged in the Glazing Supply Chains report into reducing the energy use in the UK building stock which you can see here.