Active Load Management with Advanced Window Wall Systems: Research and Industry Perspectives
Advanced window wall systems have the potential to provide demand response by reducing peak electric loads by 20-30% in many commercial buildings through the active control of motorized shading systems, switchable window coatings, operable windows, and ventilated double-skin facade systems. These window strategies involve balancing daylighting and solar heat gains, heat rejection through ventilation, and night-time natural ventilation to achieve space-conditioning and lighting energy use reductions without the negative impacts on occupants associated with other demand responsive (DR) strategies.
This paper explores conceptually how advanced window systems fit into the context of active load management programs, which cause customers to directly experience the time-varying costs of their consumption decisions. Technological options are suggested. We present pragmatic criteria that building owners use to determine whether to deploy such strategies. A utility's perspective is given. Industry also provides their perspectives on where the technology is today and what needs to happen to implement such strategies more broadly in the US.
While there is significant potential for these advanced window concepts, widespread deployment is unlikely to occur with business-as-usual practice. Technologically, integrated window-lighting-HVAC products are underdeveloped. Implementation is hindered by fragmented labor practices, non-standard communication protocols, and lack of technical expertise. Design tools and information products that quantify energy performance, occupant impacts, reliability, and other pragmatic concerns are not available. Interest within the building industry in sustainability, energy-efficiency, and increased occupant amenity, comfort, and productivity will be the driving factors for these advanced facades in the near term — at least until the dust settles on the deregulated electricity market.