Impact of curtainwall facades on apartment overheating

  • YEAR
    Jensen, Christopher
    Bartak, Erika
    Petruzzi, Roberto
    He, Sisi
    2020 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Simulation, Prediction & Evaluation


Overheating in Melbourne’s tall apartment buildings presents a unique challenge to occupant comfort with limited opportunity for shading, ventilation and refuge from exposed spaces. As residential apartment buildings increase in height the traditionally commercial ‘curtain wall’ facade system has become a popular option for tall residential apartment building facades. Unlike the balcony and punch window systems typical of lower rise apartment buildings, the curtain wall construction system favours fixed glass, limited ventilation and no shading. Apartments with curtain wall facades, especially when facing west, are the most susceptible residential dwelling group to overheating in Melbourne.

Seven typical curtain wall apartment variants were tested for the Melbourne climate to determine the level of compliance with the recently introduced heating and cooling caps in the National Construction Code (NCC). Of those tested, only 18% complied with the NCC 6 Star cooling cap, and only 10% demonstrated compliance with the stricter Victorian Better Apartment Design Standards (BADS) cooling load targets. These results demonstrate how the curtain wall systems are thermally one-dimensional and ineffective at meeting maximum cooling load limits. Glass performance, improved ventilation, external shading, reduced glass to floor area ratios and west façade specific designs are all potential solutions.

Keywords: Overheating, Apartment, Curtain wall, Cooling load


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