Keywords:Double-skin facade, advanced integrated facade, adaptive building envelope, building performance simulation
The growing demand for both building energy efficiency and indoor environmental comfort is leading to a substantial evolution of the traditional concept of the building envelope. The future building skin is required to be responsive and dynamic, actively regulating the flows of heat, light, air and water from outdoor to indoor and vice versa, in order to effectively respond to ever-changing climatic conditions, occupant comfort and energy efficiency requirements. In the framework of a decade-long research activity on Advanced Integrated Facade, AIF, a new Multifunctional Facade Module called ACTRESS has been conceived: the ACTive, RESponsive and Solar envelope is designed to play different roles through its ability to change its thermo-physical behaviour in order to suit the different environmental conditions. This paper briefly illustrates the ACTRESS MFM concept and its functional strategies, focusing on the simulation and the assessment of the performance of such a dynamic envelope. The numerical study was conducted in order to evaluate the potential energy savings achievable with such a facade and to evaluate different functional strategies and options. The evaluation of the performance in terms of energy savings was done at both component and whole-building level. Moreover this work presents an example of the applicability of Building Performance Simulation tools to the design of an innovative and dynamic facade system, discussing the capability of BPS software in simulating and evaluating the performance of such systems. The results show that the ACTRESS MFM can effectively reduce the total primary energy consumption of an office building up to 55% compared with a reference facade complying with national regulations. On the other hand modelling assumptions and simplifications are needed in order to evaluate the performance of such a system with BPS software, representing a barrier to the design and the adoption of advanced facade systems in the building industry.