Obstacles to the Use of Exterior Fenestration and Daylighting Control Systems in the U.S.
Exterior fenestration and daylighting control systems can provide excellent control of solar gain and glare and still be visually satisfying elements in the design of building envelopes. However, U.S. building industry experience with exterior fenestration and daylighting control systems suggests that durability and proper function of these systems is often unsatisfactory. Yet in Western Europe, exterior systems are a proven, cost-effective, and aesthetically accepted fenestration design element. We suggest that these contrasting operating experiences reflect differences in prevailing U.S./Western European approaches to building design, construction, and operation. Three representative U.S. building case studies are examined, each describing the application of exterior fenestration/daylighting control components previously untested as a system, and some unsatisfactory consequences. We suggest several changes that may assist in increasing the acceptance and success of these systems in the U.S. building industry.