Brise Soleil – The simple option for Reducing Bills

A brise soleil typically takes the form of a slatted design attached to a building to moderate the amount of sunlight that enters it at different times. They may be mounted vertically, like a wall, or horizontally, like a kind of awning. In each case, the position of the slats allows sunlight to enter a building at lower intensities – for example, during the early morning and late afternoon, or during the winter months. At these points, the light comes from a lower angle, closer to the horizon. In the summer and at hotter times of day, the slats bar the light from the windows. Glass louvres and other external louvres are similar solutions that can be retrofitted to buildings, or alternatively form part of a building’s fundamental design.

The advantages of all of these systems are numerous. The chief benefit is that the buildings to which they are attached are made more comfortable, specifically in terms of temperature. The louvres limit the amount of high-intensity sunlight hitting the windows, whilst allowing passive solar heating at cooler times. This means that they make the buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. That has benefits to both your comfort and your energy bills. Although you may not do away with the need for heating or air-conditioning entirely, brise soleil and louvres make best use of the available sunlight. Better working conditions make for happier employees, too.

Glare is similarly reduced, also making for an environment more conducive to working. For some industries (such as designers and artists) this is important for the preservation of their working materials, too. In other cases glare from the sun is simply an inconvenience which is only uncomfortable but nevertheless highly distracting.

Finally, brise soleil and glass louvres can constitute a key part of the architectural design. External louvres in some cases are a highly attractive feature, and have been built in to make maximum visual impact as well as any benefits in terms of solar heating and cooling. One of the best-known examples of this is the enormous, wing-shaped brise soleil on the Milwaukee Art Museum. This has the additional distinction of being closed at dusk every day, and opened the next day – a celebrated piece of functional art itself. The 217-foot wingspan has become so iconic since its installation in 2001 that it has been adopted as a symbol of the city.

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Glass louvres preventing high-angle summer rays

In modern cities it has become usual for many buildings to be presented in long, smooth expanses of glass. They look chic, futuristic and efficient, though in many ways they are reminiscent of the principles of early modernist architects such as Le Corbusier, continued in many aspects by the likes of Jean Nouvel and Renzo Piano (the men behind the superbly designed and instantly recognisable Villa Savoye, Centre Pompidou and Institut du Monde Arabe). Certainly, the most recent buildings by Nouvel and Piano are well equipped to deal with the changing light that the coming and going of different seasons brings about. In older modernist buildings, however, there is a pervasive tendency for overheating or other temperature control issues to become problematic. In the summer, for example, the sun enters buildings from a much higher angle than it does during the rest of the year. And this means that the building has to either confront the subsequent rise in temperature inside the building or be faced with unhappy residents or workers who are simply too hot for comfort. Brise soleil can be added to buildings to deal very precisely with this problem. glass louvres and external louvres meanwhile can provide tailored sun shading techniques at the same time as adding aesthetic value to a less attractive building’s façade.

When you think of the positive benefits sun shades can bring to commercial blocks, the value of investing in brise soleil will be very apparent. From an external point of view the building should be sufficiently appealing – that is to say unique, interesting and memorable so that it boosts your brand’s identity – to capture as many business partners as possible and sustain their loyalty many years down the line. From an internal point of view, the focus should be on your workers: a building whose indoor temperature is comfortable is more conducive to high levels of productivity because happy workers are more efficient workers than hot and flustered ones who can’t wait to get on their lunch break or go home to cool down and relax.

Brise soleil will not merely encourage employees to do more work, however; the possibilities are more exciting than than only increasing profits and efficiency. One surprising plus point that sun shading solutions bring is in their capacity to add aesthetic interest.

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Glass louvres can reduce bills

There are several architectural features that can decrease energy expenditure and might be considered in the design of a new development. Since awareness of environmental issues has risen – plus energy costs – these technologies can be good ways of combating either excessive heating by the sun and/or using the sun’s energy to heat space where possible. Foremost amongst these features are the brise soleil and external louvres. The first is a catch-all term for different sun barriers, from the simple to fairly complex versions. glass louvres are another way of controlling the amount of solar heating that a building receives.

Modern offices and other buildings often have big windows. This has a number of benefits, including giving them a light, spacious feel, cutting down on the need for indoor lighting and, to an extent, heating – even in Britain, where the sun cannot be relied upon. However, in the height of summer this can result in a different problem, as the space quickly heats up and starts to feel like the inside of a greenhouse. This, in turn, results in an environment that is so uncomfortable that a cooling system is needed. Air conditioning has costs associated with it, as does heating. The question therefore becomes: how to use the sun for heating when it is needed, but not to allow it to overheat the space in hotter weather?

The brise soleil and external louvres can be set in such a way as to exclude the sun’s rays at their most intense. The angle of glass louvres, for example, can be adjusted to block high-angle sun characteristic of the summer months of the year or the middle of the day. At the same time, they allow low-angle sun – characteristic of winter months – into the building. This means that you get the best of both worlds; the sun can be used for heating in cooler weather but excluded in hotter weather. In more sophisticated cases, the louvres are actually movable, meaning that they can be adjusted at the time if the weather is abnormally warm (or cold). These systems are more complicated and therefore expensive, although the building may earn back these additional costs in lower heating and cooling bills. Nevertheless, even fixed systems can go a long way to reducing energy bills and making buildings more pleasant, all year round.

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