adam  + khang + tenaj  / mentor: professor brad bell  / UTA

The building envelope must consolidate a number of contradictory performance criteria, such as heat gain, visibility, and natural light. Traditionally, these issues have been met with static facade systems because moving parts are prone to mechanical failure and require additional energy to operate. These challenges can be overcome through the integration of thermostatic bi-metal; a metal that bends when exposed to heat. Through a cycle of fabrication, physical testing, and refinement of full scale prototypes, we developed a zero-energy, dynamic facade system composed of thermally activated bi-metal surfaces.
We found that by embedding an array of bi-metal panels within two layers of insulated glass, the system maximized solar heat gain when subjected to colder temperatures, and minimized solar heat gain when subjected to warmer temperatures. Results indicated that the system could regulate temperatures while maintaining visual transparency at all times. By using a thermally responsive material, there are no moving joints prone to mechanical failure.

Because more than 40 percent of all US energy consumption is used by buildings, and the majority of that energy is allocated to the building envelope, this zero-energy system would lessen the environmental impact of traditional facade systems while consolidating a wide range of performance criteria.

* 2014 Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) Graduate Sustainability Award

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