Integration and Innovation: Creating Sustainable Facades

For example, recycled aluminium requires only five percent of the energy used to produce aluminium from bauxite. Electrical power represents about 20% to 40% of the cost of producing aluminium (15 +/-0.5 Wh/kg). The manufacturing process can also use recycled energy or materials to produce the material and one example of this is green concrete.

Green concrete can be made with reclaimed industrial materials that would otherwise be used for landfill. Recycled materials can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and enable the material itself to be recycled at the end of its life cycle.

Figure 1: UV, visible and IR transmission of different glass types

Also consider using locally or regionally sourced materials where possible. This helps with the local economy and lowers a building’s carbon footprint by reducing expensive transport costs. Green councils, like GreenMark, GBI, or LEED, are also encouraging this aspect by offering incentives for projects that use locally sourced materials.

Careful and thoughtful selection of these materials can save energy prior to construction. However to achieve a high performing façade, one should also consider using the right materials after construction and its use within the built environment. A clear indicator of that would be a building’s energy bill.

By choosing materials that use energy efficient coatings, heat-reducing paints, or incorporating thermal breaks, are some ways to reduce the energy consumed in a building after it has been constructed. The reduced embodied energy then takes on a more prominent aspect of the energy efficient façade as the electricity bill can measure energy savings.

As more and more facades are designed using floor-to-floor height glass, the amount of heat gain will be high. Therefore selecting glass with low-e coatings help to reduce the energy used to cool the building. The level of thermal performance of glass with low-e coatings can be measured by the selectivity of the coating.

Higher performing glass using triple low-e coatings are often expensive but give you more visibility through the glass, while mid range performing glass reduce heat gain but may offer less visibility through the glass.

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September 28, 2011

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Mimi Daraphet

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