One of Vibrantcy’s core offerings during an energy modeling project is façade analysis, which encompasses many different factors, but ultimately aims to find the optimal combination of materials. Our engineers typically evaluate glazing ratios, glass types, window frame types, window setbacks, shading devices, and a multitude of insulation combinations. We like to provide project teams with detailed information when evaluating various combinations of facades, considering the following factors:
· IECC Climate Zone Requirements
· Tradeoffs between exterior fins and overhangs
· Innovative Double Skinning
· Thermochromic and Electrochromic
· Thermal Bridging
· Diminishing Point of Return for Insulation (R-Value/Thickness)
· Winter-Time Solar Heat Gain
· Summer-Time Solar Heat Gain
· Access to Views
· Infiltration Improvements
Once we arrive at the optimal exterior we like to offer creative ways to bolster building performance while enhancing the project’s aesthetic duty to its users and neighborhood. If you’ve had a chance to check out our Pinterest page online you’ll know that we take precedent studies to project meetings from other creative and successful façade techniques.
While the southwest is not always a practical region for double-skinned facades or active window-fins, a building’s façade can be its biggest success and biggest downfall. Successes provide intrigue to the passer-by and create a sense belonging, in acknowledgement of the building’s micro-climate and scale relative to its location. I would be lying if I said that a glass-skinned building isn’t elegant and visually striking, but as we continue to experience year-after-year record temperatures the days of irresponsible façade design are ending. There is no obvious silver-bullet for every building’s exterior, and industry is bringing tools to our desktops which will allow us to get close them, but without any effort to mitigate unnecessary energy use we’ll be reminded that hindsight can be a strict teacher.
Last year we began using IES-VE for façade analysis, by thermally mapping each façade to identify hot and cold-spots. This effort has brought tremendous insight to insulation and glazing studies during design, allowing our teams to understand the benefits of orientation-specific strategies. And this is not a “one-and-done” process, we like to provide an iterative review of concepts in order to refine the building’s life-long thermodynamics.
- Matt Higgins