Sunshades are an integral factor in enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of a building while also adding to its aesthetic. They block direct sunlight from entering through windows and doorways, which can help better regulate the temperature of the building. Not only does this keep the tenants cool inside the building, but it can also lower regular air conditioning costs.
Due to its flexibility when fabricated, metal is the ideal material for perforated sunscreens and sunshades, and it offers greater durability than many other building materials. Metal is also easy to maintain and available in a variety of colors and finishes, which can help the aesthetic look of the building.
The perforation pattern, hole size and shape allow control over privacy and the amount of light coming into the interior of the building. This can lower energy costs, reduce glare and heat from the sun, allow natural light to illuminate the interior of the building, improve the aesthetic appearance of the building and help make a building LEED credit compliant.
Brise soleil is an exceptional architectural sunshade feature that deflects sunlight, reduces heat, all while allowing natural light to enter a building. Once installed, brise soleil can block direct sunshine from entering a building during warm seasons and provide a cooling effect. They also can allow for direct sunlight to enter and warm spaces during colder times of the year. This combination can reduce energy consumption over the life of the building.
Since the angle at which sun rays enter the window depends on the time of day, the season, and location of the building, there are several brise soleil options. Fixed brise soleil blocks sun rays that shine in vertically, while allowing a horizontal view from the exterior of a window. On many occasions, a fixed brise soleil only covers the top part of the windows. While projected brise soleil often provides solar protection from the top floor of a building.
Horizontal and vertical fins can either cover the whole facade or just the top of the windows. These block part of the sunlight and can redirect some of the natural light into the building. Because vertical fins are dominant, they are an ideal product to enhance a façade visually and sustainably.
Another type of sunshade, light shelves, are devices that control sun while also contributing to aesthetics, sustainable design and the comfort of those who occupy the building. Light shelves can come in a standard form, but also be customized in a design that fits a building’s specific needs.
To help reduce the need for artificial light inside buildings, light shelves contain a highly reflective surface that deflects daylight onto the ceiling of a building’s interior. This allows light to further enter the building, providing an illuminating glow without fluorescents. Due to their overhang, light shelves provide shading near windows, which can reduce window glare. This reduction in both glare and heat retention leads to more productive energy use and earns LEED points toward energy-efficient building construction.
With the aesthetic and sustainability benefits of sunshades, whether it be perforated sunshades, brise soleil, light shelves or parking garage systems, the popularity of installing these on buildings will not be going away anytime soon. They are an ideal choice for any architect who wants to improve the overall appearance of a building and provide the project with better sustainability features. Not only can they create a one-of-a-kind look for the building, but also help better regulate the temperature of the building and assist in making it LEED credit compliant.