The tool is based on existing scientific research that aims to improve the design community’s understand of the triggers of thermal discomfort in the wintertime.
It was developed to be simple and intuitive so that architects and engineers can design glazed facades that provide the desired levels of transparency, comfort and energy performance at an ideal cost.
The tool is a result of one of our on-going research initiatives and development of the tool involved contributions from building scientists, designers and web developers.
Our team sought to understand, as early as schematic design, which façade properties negatively or positively impact occupant comfort. Feeling thermally comfortable is one of the aspects that occupants value most in a building.
And yet, mitigating localized thermal comfort is rarely a priority during the design process — it is always assumed that a mechanical system will guarantee it.
When it comes to glazing in the winter time, perimeter heat is the most common solution provided to avoid any potential discomfort. It is often used because it is thought to be cheaper than upgrading the thermal performance of the glazing.
However, in the northeast U.S., this system has a first cost ranging between $250-$400 / linear foot, which we have found usually outweighs the cost of an upgraded envelope (between 5% – 20% price increase to upgrade from double pane glass to triple pane).
The need for supplemental heat can be avoided by reducing the U-value of the window or by changing its geometry. Previously, the only way to understand to forgoing perimeter heat in favor of an improved window was to run a costly and time-intensive Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation.
The Glazing and Winter Thermal Comfort Tool was conceived to facilitate this decision-making process quickly and inexpensively early in the design.
Last night we launched the tool at our R&D showcase here at Payette. Guests were able to test the tool for themselves while also getting a peek at our work with virtual reality, fabrication techniques and computational modeling.
Try the Glazing and Winter Comfort Tool.