Improving Window Selection: A New Workflow and Tool for Architects/Engineers

Improving Window Selection: A New Workflow and Tool for Architects/Engineers

By Huishan He (MDes ’16), Rufei Wang (MDes ’16); advised by Holly Samuelson, Panagiotis Michalatos

Related Links: IBPSA Paper; Project Stasio

Window selection greatly influences a building’s energy performance. This research demonstrates, through case studies, the shortcomings of existing methods for selecting energy-efficient windows and demonstrated how these shortcomings might lead to poor window selection. The authors proposed a parametric simulation-based methodology and developed a new publicly-available plug-in called WinEnergy for Grasshopper for Rhinoceros. This plug-in is an interface for the EnergyPlus building performance simulation engine and was developed with a focus on a user-friendly interface and improved data visualization capabilities. Within it, users can take into account confounding variables such as specific solar orientations, heating/cooling system COPs, and neighboring solar obstructions. The proposed tool provides unprecedented results visualization capabilities, allowing the user to view the energy results of the entire set of window choices (based on solar heat gain coefficient and U-factor) as well as individually selected products, and immediately recognize trends in their energy performance.

The authors also performed 192 case study simulations using WinEnergy/EnergyPlus and examined the impact, on window selection and energy performance, of certain variables that are unsupported by the simple tools or standards. The authors then compared the results to both the ASHRAE 90.1-2016 standard requirements for fenestration systems and results derived from the Façade Design Tool.