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High performance dynamic shading solutions for energy efficiency and comfort in buildings

A theoretical study supported by the European Solar Shading Organization (ES-SO) which builds on the previous ES-SO ESCORP-EU-25 scientific study carried out in 2005 examining four different European climates to assess the impact shading can have on energy saving. This study predicts the positive cooling and heating savings which can be achieved when combining best and worst case G and U-values.

Key Findings

  • Solar shading in European buildings is very significant effective use of solar shading can contribute to the reduction of overheating, space cooling demand and air conditioning use, improved thermal insulation of fenestration and thereby lower space heating loads.
  • Efficient and effective automated control of solar shading is of the highest importance and needed to be seen within the context of the entire building design. Synergies and integration of solar shading with other building technologies, e.g. dynamic shading, dimming lighting and night cooling, is necessary to realise cost-optimal packages of energy saving measures.
  • Smaller reductions are observed when more advanced glazing with lower U-values is employed but solar shading is always found to produce a positive enhancement.
  • Maximum cooling savings are always found for south / south-west orientations.
  • Dynamic solar shading will compete with – and outperform – static glazing when reducing space heating demand, controlling excess solar gain and improving occupant thermal comfort.

Further Detail

Positive cooling and heating energy savings from effective use of solar shading are predicted. Four different European climates – Rome, Budapest, Stockholm and Brussels – combine different solar shading systems with six reference glazing systems. In all of the cases positive results were found. Each model compares shading benefits of different orientation of facades.

The study suggests that an energy end use split of 50:50 between heating and cooling dynamic solar shading can be estimated to save 30% in cooling energy use of 39.8 Mtoe/yr and a saving of 14% in heating energy use of 18.2 Mtoe/yr. Combining these savings equates to a 22% saving in heating and cooling energy of 59 Mtoe/yr and a carbon emissions reduction of 22% which is equivalent to saving 137.5MtCo2/Yr.

Through this study external shading has been identified as the most effective form of solar gain control and way of reducing indoor temperatures. Meanwhile, internal shading is proven as an effective form of thermal insulation with a dynamic ability (when used correctly) to control daylight, avoid glare and provide visual comfort. Enlisting both external and internal blinds is optimum for reaching the maximum cooling and heating energy savings and addressing visual comfort for occupants.

To read the full report, click here.

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