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High-Performance Building Envelopes: Design Methods for Energy-Efficient Facades
Proceedings of the Building Enclosure Science and Technology (BEST) 4 Conference (2015)
  • Ajla Aksamija, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The objective of this paper is to discuss design methods for sustainable, high-performance facades, and the necessary steps in ensuring that the environmental factors and energy-efficiency strategies are integrated with the design process. The facade is one of the most significant contributors to the energy consumption and the comfort parameters of any building. Control of physical environmental factors (heat, light, sounds) must be considered during the design process, as well as design strategies which improve occupants’ comfort. High-performance facades need to block adverse external environmental effects and maintain internal comfort conditions with minimum energy consumption, and the location and climate become one of the crucial factors in selecting appropriate design strategies.
The first part of the paper identifies design methods for high-performance facades, differentiated by climate types. Then, characteristics of sustainable facades and discussion of specific design methods, such as proper treatment of different building orientations, selection of window-to-wall ratio, shading elements, and daylighting methods are presented. Selection of materials and their properties is also discussed, since material characteristics are a very important factor for sustainable facades, and design decisions relating to material properties can greatly influence their performance. The second part of the paper discusses different building performance analysis steps that can assist in the design process, such as energy modeling, daylight modeling, thermal comfort modeling, and heat transfer analysis. The appropriate strategies for incorporating analysis procedures with the design are presented, such as when and how to integrate different software tools, compatibility with BIM design authoring tools, and applications for high-performance facade designs. Finally, two case studies are presented to show how these strategies have been implemented on architectural projects.
  • high-performance facades,
  • energy-efficiency,
  • simulations,
  • building performance analysis tools,
  • sustainable buildings,
  • daylight,
  • thermal comfort
Publication Date
Citation Information
Ajla Aksamija. "High-Performance Building Envelopes: Design Methods for Energy-Efficient Facades" Proceedings of the Building Enclosure Science and Technology (BEST) 4 Conference (2015)
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