Finding a Happy Medium Between Aesthetics and Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Housing

Thermal fenestration, often known as the number of windows, is one of the many significant aspects that must be taken into consideration during the planning of multifamily housing. The amount of natural light entering a structure is directly proportional to its number of windows. In addition to this, it may also have a substantial influence on the way the structure appears on its whole. Therefore, while planning and constructing multifamily housing, it is essential to have a solid understanding of how to strike a balance between energy efficiency and beauty.

It might be difficult to fulfill the standards for large-scale thermal fenestration when designing new structures or when replacing existing fenestration in existing buildings. Several choices exist to satisfy your needs. This section will discuss them in further detail.

There are more compliance choices available besides resorting to authoritarian techniques to fulfill your needs. Among them are the use of performance compliance strategies to realize your energy compliance objectives. For instance, a structure may be built such that the entire fenestration U-factor accounts for less than twenty percent of the conditioned floor area of the structure.

The IECC understands the difficulties associated with area-weighted averaging but does not prohibit the use of prescriptive approaches to achieveenergy compliance objectives. The overall product U-factor of a fenestration assembly, for instance, will vary depending on the kind of glazing used. To ensure that the energy compliance requirements of new buildings are met, a performance strategy may be required.

An alternate calculating approach is available for use with site-built fenestration when it comes to newly constructed structures. With the use of this technology, architects and designers can satisfy prescriptive criteria for replacement fenestration items. The overall product U-factor, on the other hand, is likely going to be different from the NFRC standard model.

Numerous research has been carried out on the topic because of how significant the window-to-wall ratio is and how its impacts might have an impact on a building’s overall energy usage. In particular, the implications of various methods for measuring the size of windows have been looked into. In addition, the consequences of several different angles and modes of operation have also been looked at.

The consequences of the window-to-wall ratio are most readily apparent in the amount of energy required for heating and cooling. In addition to this, the effectiveness of natural illumination is substantially impacted by the window-to-wall ratio. For instance, increasing the window-to-wall ratio of an exterior window might result in a greater amount of heat being transferred through the window. In addition, windows that face east or west rather than north or south have the potential to supply a greater amount of energy.

Numerous methods for determining the energy efficiency of windows have been developed in a variety of nations. Thermal Performance of Windows, Doors, and Shading Devices — Detailed Calculations is a document that was released by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

In a structure, the amount of heat that is lost and gained via the windows accounts for a significant fraction of the overall total. In addition to this, they are the primary contributors to both direct and indirect solar gain, as well as thermal bridging and thermal transmission. Additionally, windows are an essential component in the overall thermal insulation of a structure. It is possible to significantly cut down on a building’s overall energy usage by ensuring that its windows are properly sized and installed.

Several different approaches and actions are required to improve the energy efficiency of multifamily buildings. One example of such a measure is the installation of large-scale thermal fenestration. These methods are often used throughout the building process of residential developments, including many units.

The use of large-scale fenestration systems to link the interiors of buildings to the exteriors of such buildings is an efficient use of energy. In addition, they have the potential to improve the residents’ sense of security and overall well-being in the houses to which they are applied. In addition, the biggest moveable glass wall systems may be used as efficient means of controlling ventilation and heat transmission. Because of their aesthetically pleasing design and high level of functionality, these systems have also been used in recently built multifamily communities.

Although it is not unusual to find multifamily apartments with a restricted fenestration scheme, large-scale fenestration systems are of the utmost importance. This is even thoughtheir evident benefits make them all the more desirable. The fenestration business has put forward its most capable and innovative workers to make certain that the building of the future is a thermally efficient machine. The state energy code for the state of California sets the maximum window-to-wall ratio at 40%.

When choosing large-scale thermal fenestration for a building, there are several critical factors to take into account, regardless of whether the structure in question is brand new or undergoing renovations. Controlling heat gain and reducing the demand on air conditioning systems, as well as increasing the amount of natural light and ventilation, may be accomplished via fenestrations. On the other hand, they may be a source of irritation and glare. As a result, great consideration should be given to the design of fenestrations to attain the highest possible levels of both performance and safety.

The National Fenestration Rating Council, sometimes known as the NFRC, publishes criteria that may be used in the design of fenestration that is site-built. It comprises specifications for performance as well as methods for testing. However, before the issuance of a construction permit, these tests are not needed to be completed. The NFRC 100 not only sets the standards for licensing and documentation but also describes the tests that are employed.

The primary areas of an establishment’s energy use are its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These needs may be better balanced while the expenses of energy are reduced with the aid of a fenestration system that has been thoughtfully designed. In addition, spectrally selective coatings known as “Low-E” may assist in meeting the criteria for a climatic zone.



CEO and Founder Androsky Lugo currently stands as the founding partner for the Framing Futures Architectural Firm (FFAF) in Southern California, since 2019.

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Androsky Lugo

CEO and Founder Androsky Lugo currently stands as the founding partner for the Framing Futures Architectural Firm (FFAF) in Southern California, since 2019.