The double skin facades are a European architectural trend used to achieve:
- To improve the indoor environment.
- To provide acoustics in the building.
- To attain aesthetic appearance for all-glass facades.
Although the concept is not new, it is still used most by the architects and engineers.
The double skin facades is a system consists of two skins placed in such a way that air flows in the intermediate cavity and thus provide ambient room temperature.
The skins can be ventilated or air tighten. In this type of façade, the air cavity is situated in between the skins is natural or mechanically ventilated.
It is mainly integrated in order to improve the indoor climate with active and passive techniques.
The Concept of Double Skin Facades
The basic idea behind the concept of double skin facades was the double windows.
This idea is then transformed into a double transparent building envelope and then actively taken on the future façade design.
Initially, the heat insulted faced was made by folding the wood and glass doors envelopes the space. In front of this, a frameless, floor to ceiling slide and turn system is used as a non-insulated glass layer.
Both the facades opened independently at different angles or even gets folded back to allow staff to determine their preferred ambient room temperature.
Components of double skin facades
The following components of double skin facades are:-
- Interior glazing.
- Exterior glazing.
- Structural frame.
- Operable sun shade.
- Sun-shade canopy.
- Operable ventilation.
- Maintenance catwalks.
- Exterior and interior glazing: The choice of the glass depends on the typology of the facade. If the facade is ventilated with outdoor air, the sealed glass unit is placed at the interior side and the single pane is used at the exterior side.
- Openings: openings at the interior or exterior side are used to allow ventilation of the cavity. The proper choice of shading device is very important for this system.
- Structural frame: aluminum frame has great advantages that include- fire resistant, long lifespan etc.
- Solar shading devices: solar shading devices are used between both the skins. It can be adjustable, rotated and lowered or raised.
- Sun-shade canopy: it is used to protect the solar sun shading devices from sun and rain.
- Operable ventilation: This ventilation can either be kept open all the time or can be opened by hand or mechanically according to the need of the user.
- Maintenance catwalks: they are generally designed for cleaning the windows.
Classification of double skin facades
- Naturally ventilated wall: An extra skin is added to the outer of the building. This extra skin provides additional thermal insulation in case of no solar radiation.
- Active wall: The extra skin is added to the inner side of the building, inside air passing through the cavity of the facade and return to the ventilation system.
- Interactive wall: The system is based on the concept of the naturally ventilated wall with the difference that the ventilation is forced. It works on the situation with high ambient temperatures, as it does not depend upon the stack effect.
Materials of double skin facades
- Glass: Glass is a uniform material and a solidified liquid. Because of its transparent property, it opens our building to the outside world.
Types of glass
- Low- Emissivity insulated glass.
- Solar control glass.
- Tempered or toughened glass
- Laminated glass.
- Shading device:-solar shading devices are used to protect against the direct sun, glare and overheating.
Advantages of double skin facades
- Acoustic insulation- Because of the external skin, it is possible to achieve acoustic insulation.
- Thermal insulation– the speed of air flow is low and the increased temperature of the air inside the cavity lowers the rate of heat transfer on the glass surface which leads to heat loss.
- Natural ventilation: double skin facade allows the natural ventilation inside the building.
- Night- time ventilation: during summer, the inner space can easily get heated up so the best way is to pre-cool the inner space at night by providing natural ventilation.
- Aesthetic appearance: since it is all glazed, it improves the appearance of the building and makes it more appealing
The arch point also does these type of architectural works. Double skin facades are proved to be highly useful in current building developments. They reduce energy consumption by 65% and running cost by 60%. The only downside is that they are more expensive.
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