The Center for Sustainable Research (CSBR), in conjunction with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy, launched www.CommercialWindows.org – a website that provides information and performance data on the energy efficiency, interior environment, and technical considerations that influence commercial window design decisions.
According to LBNL research, it is estimated that windows are responsible for 39% of commercial heating energy use and 28% of commercial cooling energy use – almost 1.5% of all total U.S. energy consumed.
CommercialWindows.org features a number of comprehensive resources including a Façade Design Tool – an interactive, online tool that allows users to choose, early in the design process, various conditions for windows to rank and compare different performance outcomes. The site also features performance data, design guidance, information on window technologies, and case studies with examples of the various uses of high-performing glass and façade systems.
The Façade Design Tool allows designers and decision-makers to compare design strategies for orientation, glazing, window area, and shading – for offices and schools in hot, cold and mixed climates – without the need for detailed inputs. After choosing a location, building type, and orientation, the Tool’s input design parameters let users design a façade system and quickly get performance outcomes for energy, peak electric demand, carbon, daylight, glare, and thermal comfort. These performance outcomes help the decision-maker to understand the environmental and human comfort impacts of various design decisions early and to facilitate integrated design considerations during design development.
The Façade Design Tool’s simulated results were generated using COMFEN, a tool to be used early in the design process to model comparative designs to help determine the optimal window design. COMFEN uses a graphical user interface with an Energy Plus engine providing performance results. COMFEN can be downloaded from LBNL’s web site at: windows.lbl.gov/software. BD+C