Energy Efficient Window Systems. Effects on Energy Use and Daylight in Buildings

University dissertation from Lund University, Lund Institute of Technology, Division of Energy and Building Design, P.O. Box 118, SE-221 00 LUND, Sweden

Abstract: This thesis deals with energy-efficient windows in Swedish buildings. Parametric studies were performed in the dynamic energy simulation tool Derob-LTH in order to study the effects of window choices on energy use and indoor climate for both residential and office buildings. A steady-state program was used to evaluate two years of measurements of energy use and indoor temperatures of an energy-efficient row-house. Two behavioural studies regarding (1) daylight transmittance, view and room perception using super-insulated windows and (2) the satisfaction with the daylight environment and the use of shading devices in response to daylight/sunlight were conducted in full-scale laboratory environments exposed to the natural climate. Results show that as the energy-efficiency of buildings increase, window U-values must decrease in order not to increase the annual heating demand, since the heating season is shortened, and useful solar gains become smaller. For single-family houses with a window-to-floor area ratio of 15 % and insulated according the current Swedish building code, the U-values should thus on average be lower than 1.0 W/m²K. For houses insulated according to 1960s standard, the U-value may on average be 1.6 W/m²K. For colder climates (northern Sweden), the U-values should be somewhat lower, while slightly higher U-values can be tolerated in milder climates of south Sweden. Thermal comfort during winter is improved for energy-efficient windows. However, overheating problems exist for both super-insulated houses and highly glazed office buildings showing a need for very low U-values in combination with low g-values. Daylight experiments indicate that the use of two low-emittance coatings tints the transmitted daylight enough to be appreciated, and colours may be perceived as more drab and rooms more enclosed. A compromise between energy-efficiency and daylighting may be needed, and it is suggested that only one coating be used except when very high energy-efficiency is required.

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