As you probably know we architects have a double challenge here in Spain. In the Northern countries the whole purpose is to save energy by creating a very well insulated building, here in Spain we have to do the same but at the same time we have to deal with heat gain in buildings due to the high solar energy during summer.
So any system that may help us to control heat gain in summer is more than welcome especially now that the EC is pushing Spain closer to the Nearly-zero Consumption Buildings.
For those of you who doesn’t know what NZCB are, here is a brief summary:
NZCB are buildings which have a very high energy performance. The low amount of energy that these buildings require must come mostly from renewable sources.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires all new buildings to consume nearly zero-energy by the end of 2020. All new public buildings must be nearly zero-energy by 2018. A national plan must be drawn by all EU countries to increase the number of nearly zero-energy buildings so we architect must try out any system that may help in achieving this goal.
The benefit of solar control.
The benefits of solar control include automatic solar control systems on the façade contributing notably to achieve Nearly-zero Consumption Buildings (NZCB).
The control and the architecturally integrated solar protection on the facade are the first energy control of the building for energy saving implies a commitment to the environment in reducing CO emissions a notable improvement in the thermal and light comfort of the users.
Although this somewhat expensive systems where used mostly in commercial and public building are now available for residential use due to the reduction in price in the electronic hardware.
What are the automatic solar control systems?
Are all those systems able to control and optimize the entry of solar radiation and natural lighting in any type of buildings. The control and solar protection are integrated into the facade with the building's architecture adapting to the climatology and urban environment of the area. The automatic solar control can also be integrated with the other lighting systems, air conditioning, etc. to get a joint management system in the building.
Improve the visual comfort of users by optimizing the contributions of natural light reducing artificial light systems and, therefore, the consumption in lighting of buildings. You have to understands that here in Spain the old traditional buildings used to have small windows and small openings to control the inlet of sun rays, now there is a tendency to use large openings which have forced us to use special solar reduction glass and other devices to control heat gain in summer and allowing as much heat gain in winter thus improving the quality of life within the building and allowing us architects to comply with the new EC directive on NZCB.
This system tends to regulate the interior temperature of buildings to any desired standard using automatic solar control increasing the thermal comfort making a reduction of the use in the air conditioning systems because the façade acts as a first energy control of the building. The thermal control supposes an increase of the productivity and comfort of the users inside the building.
Taking advantage of the free energy of the sun in winter and avoiding solar radiation in summer we can reduce energy consumption of lighting and air conditioning. Solar control and protection will contribute to saving energy and will help improve the energy rating of buildings in its correspondent EPC certificate. The improvement in energy certification means increasing real estate value of the building.
Sustainability Automatic solar control allows a noticeable reduction of energy consumption and therefore we also reduce gas emissions of greenhouse effect as CO
and we reduce the impact of the carbon footprint.
Automatic solar control can be integrated with catchment systems of sustainable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The commitment of respect for the environment improving the sustainability of the building and achieving buildings of almost zero consumption.
Opportunity to save money.
Energy rehabilitation is a business opportunity when we know what is the actual energy expenditure with respect to operating expenses general of any building. With the data provided by Facility Management companies or managers of buildings we may know the importance of energy in the overall expense of a building. In 2012, it already accounted for 30% of the total cost of exploitation of a building. If we take into account that the growth rate of Energy price doubles the increase in the Consumer Price Index (IPC), it is logical to assume that the importance of energy consumption also it will continue to grow. The forecast is that in 20 years it will constitute 50% of the operating costs of a building.
As the price of energy increases, the Energy Certification (EPC) it will become a quality badge. This added value gives us a scale of energy quality and it tells us the estimated consumption of the building and the CO emissions associated.
Before applying the energy rehabilitation actions, we must analyse carefully the behaviour of the building and its users. The energy audits that monitor consumption are an indispensable tool for know where and when we spend more energy than necessary. With the data from this audit, or with the consumptions data facilitated by the building manager we can start up an energy rehabilitation plan. This plan should inform about possible actions to be carried out, its price and the amortization of the investment.