Our free web-based Glazing and Winter Comfort Tool is featured in the first AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) newsletter of the New Year! In the feature, Miller Hull Partnership Principal Jim Hanford, AIA explains how the Glazing and Winter Comfort Tool has benefitted his firm’s designs and helps him to better communicate with engineers and clients.
This new tool helps architects design façades with comfort in mind
Our firm, The Miller Hull Partnership, has designed a highly successful net zero energy (NZE) office building; energy use is low, allowing for net-positive operation, and thermal comfort is very good. Large glazed openings and tall ceilings allow for ample daylighting, and building occupants report an overall high level of satisfaction with how the spaces feel and how connected they are with the outside.
This high level of satisfaction validates the “performance-driven” approach to the design of the building skin. In design, our team was constantly iterating the daylighting, ventilation, and energy models to achieve the right balance for window and opaque wall system performance. Once occupied, the building has operated so far beyond net zero that some have suggested we could have saved money with lesser-performing window and wall systems (e.g. going to double-insulated glass instead of triple-insulated, or less exterior insulation on the walls) while still achieving the energy goals. It seems that doing that, however, would have fundamentally changed the nature of the building. We suspected that this change would impact occupant comfort, but we didn’t really have the tools at our disposal to explain why.
When I first learned of Payette’s Glazing and Winter Comfort Tool, I realized that this might be the tool we needed. This easy-to-use software—which Payette has made available to other designers through a web interface—models thermal comfort as it relates to glazing design. It evaluates both radiant discomfort and the downdraft of air, both of which are caused by the cool surfaces of glazing elements.
Read the full article.