Optimal Building Design & Glazing: A Case Study

It is the 21st century, and energy conservation and sustainability in architecture is surely gathering momentum. With one eye fixed ever so intently on the environment and the rising global temperatures, architects are turning to innovation and technology to turn the tables on myopic building design and combat energy inefficiency in our living and working spaces. This is where glass is proving to be their trusted accomplice.
So, when a prominent learning institute in Mumbai approached Asahi India Glass Ltd., the most comprehensive integrated glass company in India, to achieve high performance energy efficiency, we carried out a comprehensive and painstaking glazing and building design analysis to provide a satisfactory solution. Let’s find out how:
A learning institute in Mumbai wanted to optimize its building design without spending big on glazing solutions. This meant reducing the heat gain inside the building without compromising natural lighting.

Normally, we have observed that when it comes to glazing solutions providing high performance energy efficiency, architectural glass variants with a lower Solar Factor and lower U-Value are favoured. But to achieve the ideal balance between the building design and glazing feasibility, we had to come up with an optimum solution that offers best return on investment.
Therefore, first we conducted a study to understand the building design. Due to the architecture of the institute, the building’s direct and indirect heat gain had fallen down considerably. This can be explained by Fig. 1:

  • 4 Classrooms located on the north side received diffused light and no direct heat
  • 4 South-facing classrooms were provided with a shading device to prevent direct heat and glare
  • 4 Buffer zones, created by placing the service areas along the east façade and corridors along the west façade, prevented heat ingress in the offices
  • 4 Walls had good insulation properties to prevent long-wave radiations from entering into the building
  • 4 North light provided natural light to a portion of the building

These observations allowed us to fine tune our glazing solution. Ultimately, due to the optimal building design, we could choose a solution which did not have the best specifications (and therefore higher cost) but was a perfect match for the design.

In order to do so, a detailed building energy analysis and simulation was conducted with a huge portfolio of AIS products. Their performance parameters are compared in the table above. Then, we compared the energy saving percentage against cost payback period.
This study is depicted in the Fig 2. As one can see, Spring SGU (Solar Control product from the AIS Ecosense range) which has Solar Factor (SF) = 64%, Visual Light Transmission (VLT) = 65%, and U-Value = 5.4 w/ m2 k performed best out of all the glasses with 17% energy savings and 2 months’ payback period, when compared to base case Clear DGU (double glaze unit).

Thus, by understanding the relationship between building design and glazing type, we could suggest the client a glazing glass with an optimum Solar Factor and U-Value and higher VLT – thus enabling the institute to save on money and recover investment far quicker than imagined.

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