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Exterior shades are highly efficient for reducing solar load in commercial buildings. Their impact on net energy use depends on the annual energy balance of heating, cooling, fan and lighting energy. This paper discusses the overall energy use intensity of various external shading systems for a prototypical large office building split into the different types of energy use and for different orientations and window sizes. Lighting energy was calculated for a constant lighting power as well as for dimmed lighting fixtures (daylighting control).
In Section 3, slat angles and solar cut-off angles were varied for fixed exterior slat shading systems. While the most light-blocking shades performed best for the case without daylighting controls, the optimum cut-off angle with daylighting controls was found to be 30 deg for the office building prototype used in Chicago and Houston. For large window-to-wall (WWR) ratios, window related annual energy use could be reduced by at least 70 % without daylighting control and by a minimum of 86 % with daylighting control in average over all orientations.
The occurrence of discomfort glare was is considered in Section 4 of the paper, which looks at the performance of commercially available exterior shading systems when an interior shade is used in addition to the exterior shade during hours when occupants would experience discomfort glare. Glare control impacts overall energy use intensity significantly for exterior shades with high transmittance, especially when daylighting controls are used. In these cases, exterior shades are only beneficial for window-to-wall areas ≥ 45% in the hot Houston climate. For smaller windows and in a heating/cooling climate like Chicago, exterior shades can increase energy consumption.