Jacee Tan, M.Eng. 2014
Supervisor: Dr. Rodrigo Mora
Thermal performance is an important issue in building envelope design because it impacts directly the building energy consumption, indoor thermal comfort, and the envelope durability. Curtain walls are lightweight glazed facades that are characterized by having two distinct glazed areas: a translucent vision area and an opaque spandrel area. In the curtain wall industry, thermal transmittance U-factor or thermal resistance R-value of the vision and spandrel areas, and overall U-factor or R-value of whole curtain walls are usually specified individually. To achieve good overall thermal performance, both vision and spandrel play important roles. This project investigates materials and technologies to improve thermal performance of spandrel panels in curtain walls.
Three types of spandrel configurations are studied: conventional, vacuum insulated panels (VIP) and a combination of both of them. Thermal transmittance U-factor and/or thermal resistance R-value of each configuration, either nominal or weighted, are reviewed and compared in this project. THERM 6.3 2D a free finite-element modeling software by the Laurence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is used to model the thermal performance for these three configurations on a unitized curtain wall system. The thermal properties are compared and discussed. eQuest®, a free energy modeling tool that uses the DOE 2-2 simulation engine, is used to simulate energy performance for a whole building — a 20-storey office building clad with a curtain wall. Energy consumption is compared per these three different spandrel configurations.