Regional performance targets for transparent near-infrared switching electrochromic window glazings

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Journal Article

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With building heating and cooling accounting for nearly 14% of the national energy consumption, emerging technologies that improve building envelope performance have significant potential to reduce building energy consumption. Actual savings from these technologies will depend heavily upon their performance in diverse climate and operational conditions. In many cases, early-stage research can benefit from detailed investigation in order to develop performance thresholds and identify target markets. One example, a dynamic, highly transparent, near-infrared switching electrochromic (NEC) window glazing, is the focus of this investigation. Like conventional electrochromics, the NEC glazing can dynamically tune its optical properties with a small applied voltage. Consequently, the glazing can block or transmit solar heat to reduce cooling or heating loads, respectively. Unlike conventional electrochromics, NEC glazings remain transparent to visible light, causing no adverse effect to daylighting or building aesthetics. This study utilizes the software COMFEN to simulate a broad range of NEC performance levels, for commercial and residential buildings in 16 climate-representative reference cities. These simulations are the basis for identifying performance levels necessary to compete with existing static technologies. These results indicate that energy savings are strongly influenced by blocking-state performance. Additionally, residential applications have lower performance requirements due to their characteristic internal heat gains. Finally, the most dynamic NEC performance level is simulated in competition with high performing static alternatives. Here heating and cooling energy savings range from 5 to 11 kWh/m2 yr for commercial and 8–15 kWh/m2 yr for residential, in many regions on the order of 10%.


Building and Environment



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Research Areas