Angular selective window systems: Assessment of technical potential for energy saving

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Static angular selective shading systems block or filter direct sunlight and admit daylight within a specific range of incident solar angles. They can potentially deliver energy efficient performance within the typical 4.6-m (15-ft) deep perimeter zone of buildings when tailored to a specific façade orientation and latitude. The objective of this study is to quantify the technical potential of these systems to reduce energy use and peak demand in commercial buildings, specifically: a) achieve 30-50% reductions in perimeter zone energy use vs. ASHRAE 90.1-2004, b) constrain peak window loads to less than 43 W/m2-floor (4 W/ft2-floor), and c) to the extent possible, admit useful daylight in the perimeter zone without exceeding the peak solar load constraint. Three distinctly different commercial shading systems were evaluated: a micro-perforated screen, a tubular shading structure (double- and triple-paned configurations), and an expanded metal mesh. This evaluation was performed mainly through computer simulation for a multitude of scenarios, including multiple climates (Chicago, Illinois and Houston, Texas), window-to-wall ratios (0.15-0.60), building codes (ASHRAE 90.1-2004 and 2010) and lighting control configurations (with and without daylighting controls). Angular selective shading systems are optically complex and cannot be modeled accurately using conventional simulation tools, prompting the development of unique versions of the EnergyPlus, Radiance and Window simulation tools. Results show significant potential reductions in perimeter zone energy use, with the best commercially-available system reaching 28% and 47% savings, relative to ASHRAE 90.1- 2004 and respectively without and with daylighting controls, on south facades in Chicago with WWR=0.45, while constraining peak window heat gains to under 43 W/m2-floor, and enabling significant savings from daylighting controls. Results suggest that it is possible that existing systems can be improved to more consistently achieve 30-50% energy savings. Level of angular selectivity, spectral selectivity of low-e coatings and thermal conductance of the angle-selective layer were identified as critical factors for the performance of angular selective systems. Static, angular selective shading systems offer a potentially low-cost option to significantly reduce window heat gains and control glare from visibility of the sun orb, while permitting the admission of useful daylight and access to views to the outdoors. This type of system shows significant potential to contribute towards net-zero energy goals in both new and retrofit construction.

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DOE / CEC PIER Technical Report