Energy Challenges Related to Recladding Early Model Curtain Walls

Apr 13, 2015

This case study will explore energy and thermal performance issues and challenges related to recladding/reglazing an early 1980s building. The original system included highly reflective Insulating Glass Units (IGUs) that provided very low solar heat gain. It also utilized a curtain wall framing system that incorporated components which resulted in an increased level of thermal performance. The system suffered from several deficiencies such as wide spread air and water infiltration and failing IGUs. Additionally, the aesthetic associated with highly reflective glazing is often no longer considered appealing to many designers and building owners. The system needed to be revitalized and modernized. The situation proved difficult to develop solutions that incorporated relatively clear glazing (to provide the desired aesthetic) using modern conventional products that would match or exceed the overall thermal performance of the original system. This paper concludes that careful consider and evaluation must be performed when upgrading early fenestration systems that may already utilize relatively high performing components and materials.

(This entry contains a conference paper and presentation in PDF. For optimal viewing, open in Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

Andrew A. Dunlap, AIA, SmithGroupJJR, Building Technology Studio; Detroit, MI
Proceedings of the BEST4 Conference
Presented at: 
BEST4 Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
BEST4 Technical Committee, National Institute of Building Sciences

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