Shading systems are widely used, also in Nordic climates, in conjunction with glazed facade in office buildings. The primary functions of the solar shading devices are to control solar gains leading to cooling needs during operational hours and reduction of discomfort caused by glare. A secondary property of shading devices incorporated in glazing units is that they can be utilized as an additional layer in the glazing unit when the shading device is deployed. This can improve the thermal transmittance value (U-value) of the windows. It can be deployed during night-time or in periods when a blocked view does not have any consequences for the users of the building. This article presents hot-box measurements of thermal transmittance values (U-values) performed for three insulated glazing units with integrated in-between pane shading systems. The shading devices are venetian-type blinds with horizontal aluminum slats. The windows with double- and triple-pane glazing units have motorized blinds. The window with a 4-pane glazing has a manually operated blind placed in an external coupled cavity.

The measurements are compared to numerical simulations using the WINDOW and THERM simulation tools. The results showed that only minor reductions of U-values of the glazing units were obtained as function of shading system operation. It was, however, found that the introduction of shading devices in the window cavities will increase the total U-value of the window due to thermal bridging effects caused by shading device motor and the aluminium slats of the blinds. coupled cavity.

Published in Journal papers


Modern office buildings often have large glazed areas. Incident solar radiation can lead to large cooling demands during hot periods although the solar radiation can help reduce heating demands during cool periods.
Previous studies have shown that large parts of the net energy demand of an office building is related to window heat loss and cooling demands induced by solar irradiance. In this article, the authors found that, even in what traditionally has been considered to be a heating-dominated climate, cooling demands dominate the net energy demand of an office building. Solar shading systems are vital to reduce the cooling demand of an office building.
Introducing shading systems might contribute to higher heating demands as well as higher demands for artificial lighting but at the same time it might be necessary in order to reduce glare issues.
Simulations of a number of shading strategies have been performed for south- and north-facing office cubicles with varying floor areas, window sizes and window parameters. Energy demands for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation fans have been assessed. The simulations show that the choice of shading strategy can have an impact on the energy demand of the offices. Depending on strategy, the energy demand can either increase or decrease compared to an unshaded one- or two-person office cubicle.
In addition, the shading systems can contribute toward a lowered thermal transmittance value (U-value) of the window by functioning as an additional layer in the glazing unit when closed. Potential improvements of U-values have been studied in combination with the shading system’s effect on solar heat gains and daylight levels. Experimental investigations of in-between the panes solar shading system effects on window U-values are currently being carried out at the Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings (www.ZEB.no).
It was found that automatically controlled shading systems can reduce the energy demands of south-facing, small office cubicles, but that they should not be installed without a thorough case-by-case investigation as increased energy demands were found if an improper shading strategy was chosen. Upgrading to four-pane glazing will, however, always have a beneficial impact on the energy demand compared to two- and three-pane glazing.

Published in Journal papers

This report deals with how to define what a Zero Emission Building (ZEB) is with explanation and analysis of different parameters related to embodied emissions of CO2 equivalents. The report can be used as a guidance tool on how to assess embodied emissions, and also on what parameters should be evaluated in such an assessment.

Different ambition levels for ZEBs may include life stages, operation, material, construction and end-of-life and can be documented according to EN 15978. Calculation procedures should include system boundaries, embodied emissions from materials, transport, the construction process and waste handling according to the ambition level. CO2 eq emissions factors, service life estimates and payback scenarios for CO2 emissions need to be considered.

The report does not contain one single clearly defined method, but rather a state-of-the-art summary on the different issues and refers to other relevant national and international work in the field of ZEB definitions. The issues presented here are in early stages of development and will need to be verified and further developed.

Published in Reports

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