Control of solar shading has a great influence on energy consumption • Glass in the picture

The way in which the solar shading is controlled has a great influence (26%) on a building’s primary energy consumption. Larger than design choice based on glass type, cantilever or window size (22%). This emerges from research from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU / e). Based on the research results, the design of buildings with a lot of glass will be just as beneficial in energy consumption as buildings with less glass. As long as this is combined with smartly controlled sun protection.

The research was conducted by Samuel de Vries (PhD candidate) and Roel Loonen (assistant professor). Kindow, developer of intelligent sun and daylight controls for indoor shade, has been involved in research as an industrial partner. Read more about the effect of sun protection glass.

Types of windows and glass examined

For the study, the researchers compared different sizes of windows, type of glass and facade design with ways in which sun protection is controlled. In most office buildings, blinds are operated manually by the users. This often creates the situation that the light is turned on as soon as the blinds are lowered. ‘As a result, the benefits of natural daylight and views are not exploited. It also results in higher energy consumption ‘, the researchers believe.

Smart blinds

Automated solar shading can potentially improve energy performance, but in practice, conventional automated systems often cause dissatisfaction among users. The automated ‘open-close’ strategies that are characteristic of the current generation of solar shading systems are poor at predicting and preventing glare. With these strategies, the blinds are also completely closed, leading to insufficient daylight and visibility. With smart, refined control, this is less the case, allowing users to experience more comfort and save energy. In addition, the choice of a refined automated control seems to be more crucial for energy consumption than whether the solar panel is installed indoors or outdoors. Indoor sun protection with a smart, refined control provides 11% lower primary energy consumption than outdoor sun protection with a conventional control.

Smaller glass is not necessary for BENG

According to TU / e, the research is worth mentioning because smaller and smaller glass is increasingly being used in the design of a building. According to many designers, smaller glasses fit better within the calculation method of the BENG scheme. However, research shows that smaller glass in buildings is not necessary to meet the requirements of low energy consumption, as long as smart control technology, such as smart sun and daylight control, is taken into account.

Indoor blinds also contribute

In addition, the study goes against the common perception that indoor blinds are only functional as brightness curtains. Indoor sun protection can make a significant contribution to energy savings for cooling, heating and lighting. This with the use of reflective fabric types and in combination with a smart control system. In this way, according to the researchers, indoor sun protection can even provide a lot better than standard automated outdoor sun protection. Indoor sun protection also provides better options for using refined automatic control. In this way, they are looking for ‘an optimal balance between limiting sun exposure and allowing sufficient daylight’, the researchers believe.

Daylight entry is becoming increasingly important

The study also shows that daylight is becoming increasingly important in the transition to energy management without CO 2 emissions. Heating and cooling installations are becoming more and more efficient, and PV panels are being used more and more. In the current context, the type of glass and the choice for indoor versus outdoor sun protection still determine 5-13% of the primary energy consumption. In the future, you may only be able to determine 2-4% of the primary energy consumption with these design choices. The regulation of sun protection also makes a difference of 16 to 18% in that context. According to the research, it is therefore important to continuously search for new design principles for facade design and automated sun protection. This way, you can use daylight more efficiently and meet energy needs faster.

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