Increasing cooling demands in the built environment present an important and complex challenge for the design of sustainable buildings and cities. Even though the first course of action should always aim to reduce energy consumption through saving measures and passive design; these are often not enough to avoid mechanical equipment altogether, particularly in the case of office buildings in warm climate contexts. Solar cooling technologies have been increasingly explored as an environmentally friendly alternative to harmful refrigerants used in common air-conditioning systems; besides being driven by renewable energy. Nonetheless, building application remains mostly limited to demonstration projects and pilot experiences.
The thesis discusses the suitability of solar cooling technologies in terms of their potential for façade integration, exploring current possibilities and identifying main constraints for the development of solar cooling integrated architectural products. The potential for façade integration is assessed considering both the architectural requirements for the integration of building services in the façade development process; and the potential climate feasibility of self-sufficient integrated concepts, matching current technical possibilities with cooling requirements from several climates.
Although interesting prospects were identified in this dissertation, important technical constraints need to be solved to conceive fail-tested façade components. Furthermore, several barriers related to the façade design and development process need to be tackled in order to introduce architectural products such as these into the market. The identification and discussion of these barriers, along with the definition of technology driven development paths and recommendations for the generation of distinct architectural products, are regarded as the main outcomes of this dissertation, serving as a compass to guide further explorations in the topic under an overall environmentally conscious design approach.
- Solar cooling
- integrated facades
- Facade design
- Renewable Energy
- Energy Efficiency