Integrated Envelope and Lighting Technologies for Commercial Buildings
Fenestration systems are major contributors to peak cooling loads in commercial buildings and thus to HVAC system costs, peak electric demand, and annual energy use. These loads can be reduced significantly through proper fenestration design and the use of daylighting strategies. However, there are very few documented applications of energy-saving daylighted buildings today, which suggests that significant obstacles to efficient fenestration and lighting design and utilization still exist. This paper reports results of the first phase of a utility-sponsored research, development, and demonstration project to more effectively address the interrelated issues of designing and implementing energy-efficient envelope and lighting systems. We hypothesize that daylighting and overall energy efficiency will not be achieved at a large scale until true building integration has been accomplished to some meaningful degree. Moving beyond the vague concept of "intelligent" buildings long popular in the design sector, we attempt to integrate component technologies into functional systems in order to optimize the relevant building energy performance and occupant comfort parameters. We describe the first set of integrated envelope and lighting concepts we are developing using available component technologies. Emerging and future technologies will be incorporated in later phases. Because new hardware systems alone will not ensure optimal building performance, we also discuss obstacles to innovation within the design community and proposed strategies to overcome these obstacles.