Double-Skin Facades and Achieving Thermal Comfort
Research Question: How long does it take to achieve thermal comfort in a space using the concept of a double-skin facade? What factors (light source, distant from light source, wall material and thickness, glass thickness) limit the passive heating and cooling of an enclosed space?
Abstract: Adapting the three common North American classifications of double-skin facade systems, this project works to answer the question of how long it takes to achieve thermal comfort in a space using the methods of these facade types. In constructing a unit to replicate how the typical double-skin facade works, we would like to measure how the capturing of hot air within the air cavity of the facade can transfer heat to an enclosed space through solar heat gain on the facade. In another iteration based on the North American classifications, we intend to test how the natural ventilation of that air out of the cavity works to cool a space by taking hot air out of the space through additional openings
- Introduction: A double-skin facade is an envelope system consisting of two exterior building skins placed in such a way that an intermediate cavity is produced between the two layers of glass. This additional facade is typically installed over an existing building facade, the new space between the second skin and the original facade acting as a buffer zone to insulate the building (Poirazis, 2004). The main layer of glass is usually insulated, with the air space between the layers acts as insulation against temperature extremes, winds and sound. The air cavity situated between the glass is typically naturally or mechanically ventilated. The origin and destination of the air can differ, depending on the climatic conditions of the region, the use of the building and its HVAC system. The buffer zone can also be heated by solar radiation, depending on the facade’s orientation. For south-facing facades, the solar heated air can be used for heating purposes in colder climates. Venting is required to prevent overheating in other regions. In colder climates, the solar gain within the cavity may be circulated to the occupied space to offset heat requirements. The assumption associated with double-skin facades is that a higher insulative value may be achieved by using this configuration versus conventional glazing configurations.
- History: The fundamental concept of the double-skin facade was first explored and tested by architect Le Corbusier in the early 20th century. Known as the “mur neutralisant” (neutralizing wall), the experiment involved inserting heating and/or cooling pipes between large layers of glass.
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Boake, Terri Meyer. “The Tectonics of the Double Skin: Green Building or Just More Hi-Tech Hi-Jinz?” Montreal, Quebec, 2002. http://www.tboake.com/pdf/tectonic.pdf.
Faggal, Ahmed Atef. “Double Skin Facade Effect on Thermal Comfort and Energy Consumption in Office Buildings.” Ain Shams University, 2014. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312040800_Double_Skin_Facade_Effect_on_Thermal_Comfort_and_Energy_Consumption_in_Office_Buildings.
Poirazis, Harris. Double Skin Facades for Office Buildings: Literature Review. Vol. 4. 2004. Division of Energy and Building Design, Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University, n.d. http://www.ebd.lth.se/fileadmin/energi_byggnadsdesign/images/Publikationer/Bok-EBD-R3-G5_alt_2_Harris.pdf.