Blog

Why specify automated shading?
Category: All
By: Ben Vowles

Buildings in recent times are rightly being designed with natural light in mind. Large scale glazing and curtain wall facades maximise the amount of daylight received by a space which as we know has a huge impact on occupant well-being, productivity and building performance. By maximising daylight in design, we can create beautiful, well-lit spaces which are less reliant on artificial lighting whilst utilising a natural resource, the sun. The best part of this, it’s free! 

Designing with daylight in mind is only half of the story as uncontrolled daylight can create issues within a building such as excessive heat gain and reflected glare on work surfaces and computer screens. These issues become particularly acute where large glazed facades are incorporated into the building’s design. 

Why do we require a dynamic, automated shading solution? 

In simple terms the sun is dynamic and will have different impacts on a building and occupants depending on the time of day and year. We tend to see more glare issues with the sun in winter months with the sun being much lower. Using a dynamic automated shade system will optimise the natural resource we have in the sun. A dynamic shading system will utilise heat and light and harness this natural energy to help operate a building efficiently whilst maintaining a view to the outside. 

How does it work? 

There are many ways to provide automated shading for a building. This can be set up through weather stations on the roof of the building which track the position of the sun and adjusts the motorised blinds position accordingly. Lux level sensors also provide a real-time measured level of light which the blinds deploy / retract once specified comfortable light level thresholds have been hit. 

The system can work independently or be integrated with intelligent dimmable lighting for optimal building performance. There is a range of quiet and intelligent motors available to ensure the automated system is non-intrusive to occupants and quietly does its job of daylight harvesting and glare control. 

Ease of control for building managers is key. A system should be easy to use, with the ability to override and make changes for future-proofing a building. 

Does it cost?

Yes, initially. However, automated shading has been developing in recent times. Simple, cost effective motors, cabling methods and control options have made intelligent shading a much more considered, viable option for buildings. A dynamic shading solution reduces energy consumption by reducing the requirements for artificial light, heating and cooling of a building. In short, automated shading reduces operational costs and saves money.

Environmental credentials

Automated shading is recognised by such building codes, criteria and standards such as PART L, LEED V4, THE WELL Standard, EPBD Directive and can often increase a buildings sustainability credentials. 

With an ever-increasing demand for intelligent building solutions, automated shading requirements is growing. It is a win – win for occupant health, well-being, productivity whilst providing developers and building owners with a desirable space with reduced operational costs. 

If you would like to find out how your projects could benefit from automated shading contact our expert Ben Vowles ben@waverley.co.uk

About the author

Ben Vowles Shading Specification Manager