Achieve Breathable Buildings with Double Skin Façades

By NanaWall Systems, August 26, 2020

Achieve Breathable Buildings with Double Skin Façade opening glass wall technology

Most of us have heard of breathable buildings, a self-explanatory concept that serves a vital purpose in sustainable structures and is often achieved with double skin façades. But what exactly is the function of these dynamic building envelopes? As an environmentally friendly solution, breathable buildings reduce maintenance and energy costs utilizing double skin façades as innovative and operable insulation systems. The architectural concept of breathable buildings has been around for decades and can even be linked to ancient Egyptian and Middle Eastern structures thought to be built with the purpose of enabling air to move through the building. Today, advancements in technology and engineering have facilitated innovative solutions to achieve a “double skin” effect with opening glass walls.

emploees enjoy the benefits of opening glass walls in breathable building in an office

Double Skin Façades Offer Temperature Control Solutions

In double skin façades applications, air flows in the cavity within the two skins, usually consisting of glass. The ventilation through the cavity can be natural or mechanical and acts as insulation for the building against extreme temperatures. In cold climates, sun-heated air is trapped within the cavity and therefore keeping the interiors warmer. In hot climates, the space between the two skins acts as a vent where the hot air can be drained either naturally or with the help of fans.

Careful design is essential in achieving functional double skin façades as well as choosing the right products that are going to enhance the efficiency of these breathable buildings. NanaWall Systems opening glass walls are engineered with thermal performance features ideal for double skin applications. Systems like the NanaWall SL25 slide on a single track and works in conjunction with an interior folding or sliding system to achieve double skin design. This completely frameless system uses a top-hung single track design that allows panels to slide around corners and pivot 90 degrees to the opening. Panels can stack out of the way at either end when fully opened.

close up image of double skin opening glass wall technology

Breathable Buildings Improve Indoor Workplace Environments

In a workplace setting, where creating a better-quality work environment is paramount, the benefits of double skin façades are essential. Employees have manual control of their interior climate and are capable of regulating the temperature within the building based on their needs. This control improves HVAC performance with the help of the insulating cavity and in exchange lowers electricity costs. More than just a thermal barrier, the insulating cavity also offers additional sound control and thus facilitating a distraction-free working environment within.

Natural Elements Promote Health and Wellness

Double skin façades that utilize opening glass walls reap more than just facilitated manual control of interior temperatures. These transparent barriers invite large amounts of daylight into workplaces and because of their thermal attributes, there is little to worry about heat transfer. If weather allows it, opening both skins offer an all-natural fresh air circulation flushing interiors with the sensation of being outdoors. The continuous presence of fresh air and daylight within the workplace improves overall health and helps in preventing the spread of illnesses. The ability to manipulate the indoor environment based on the comfort of the employees improves productivity and overall well-being.

inside an office with folding glass wall and double skin with frameless glass wall for breathable building design

Double Skin Façades in Multifamily Applications

Balconies are a highly sought after feature in multifamily buildings that attain and retain tenants as they seek an indoor/outdoor space. Recent emphasis on health and wellbeing have risen the value of having these private outdoor areas, regardless of size, due to their ability to invite the outdoors in. Double skin façades in multifamily applications offer the same insulating benefits as they do in offices—thermal performance and thus lower energy costs. However, in multifamily applications, the cavity between the two skins can stand in as a balcony space that adapts to the seasons and the needs of tenants. Opening glass walls are utilized to allow natural light infiltration and fresh air to circulate within a complex which in exchange supports the health and welfare of occupants.

Double Skin Façades in multifamily building for energy efficiency and fresh air

Final Thoughts

Double skin façades offer an innovative solution that supports sustainability efforts and the improvement of indoor environments. These breathable buildings facilitate natural fresh air circulation and abundant daylight, which are key elements in creating interiors that enhance overall health and performance. In both residential and commercial settings the benefits of double skin façades are paramount, both in decreasing energy costs and increasing wellbeing.

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