An Environmental Skin: Enhancing Thermal Performance with Double-Skin Facades in Hawaii's Climate

Date
2012-05
Authors
Strahle, Christopher
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Abstract
Highly glazed commercial buildings in Hawai`i present overheating challenges due to high outside temperatures combined with solar gains. In order to optimize thermal performance and reduce excessive cooling loads, the thermal behavior of this type of building requires careful investigation. As an increasing interest in double‐skin facades as a successful methodology for controlling building performance continues to be explored in Europe , its feasibility within Hawai`i’s climate has yet to be discovered. In this study, double‐skin façade design strategies are examined in Hawai`i’s climate focusing on enhancing thermal performance on an existing building model. This research adopts a CFD simulation approach to model heat and air flow transfers in various double‐skin façade design scenarios. The impact of solar radiation, surface temperature, cavity height and air flow rate on temperature and velocity fields inside the channel of the double‐skin facade is analyzed. This research focuses on the investigation of context based design for double‐skin facades, particularly focusing on design considerations during the design process. In conclusion, this investigation will help to identify the potential of this specific system within Hawai`i’s climate and its ability to improve thermal performance within existing buildings.
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