Project Title:

Facade and Perimeter Zone Performance Field Study

Evaluating the effect of facade design on occupant comfort and perception.

Status: Complete

Funding sources: CBE Industry Consortium, Research Grants


Project Objective

Develop a comprehensive set of tools and methods for evaluating facade performance with respect to occupant comfort and energy efficiency. Utilize post-occupancy evaluation resources developed by CBE, and evaluate perimeter zone performance by measuring thermal comfort, visual comfort, direct beam radiation, and implementing occupant surveys specific to perimeter zone environments.

Significance to Industry

The comfort of building occupants who work in perimeter zones can be significantly affected by outdoor conditions such as noise, temperature and solar radiation. Previous research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has shown the potential for substantial energy savings and improved occupant satisfaction when facades are optimized. However predicting and evaluating the performance of a building’s perimeter zone and facade is a complex issue that requires a multi-disciplinary approach.

Research Approach

The Seattle Justice Center (SJC) was selected for this pilot study for several reasons, including the building owner’s interest in a post-occupancy evaluation by their building, cooperation of building manager and staff, access to plans and information about the building through CBE industry partners, and the nature of different types of facades (double skin and traditional punched window) in a single building.

We developed, implemented, and evaluated methods and protocols for quantifying occupant satisfaction at workstations in perimeter zone office environments. We developed customized occupant IEQ surveys, which were implemented during both the warm and cool seasons. We installed indoor comfort assessment modules (ICAMs) to collect information about physical conditions in the spaces. The ICAMS measured and recorded air velocity, ambient air temperature and radiant asymmetry. We also documented contrast ratios for the workstations in a selected area, for comparison to Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) recommendations. We also determined hours of direct sun for workstations in perimeter zones.  Finally, we collected temperature data in the double skin thermal buffer, for comparison to design phase predictions.

An Internal Report summarizing this field study was released to CBE industry partners in June 2005.

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Case Study Building

The Seattle Justice Center provided a diversity of facade types for this study.

Image of data collection

CBE researchers installed ICAMs to measure indoor environmental conditions .

Fisheye camera image

Fisheye photos were used to quantify contrast ratios, an important factor for visual comfort.