Breathing Facades: Facade Technology toward Decentralised, Natural Ventilation
Author: Bernhard Rudolf
In the construction of transparent building envelopes, next to the structural and building-physics solutions, the concept for ventilating the building interior plays a decisive role. While, on the one hand, American office buildings in particular are still ventilated by means of central air-handling plants, in Europe, residents and occupants are accustomed to ventilating spaces by opening windows or other apertures.
The German firm Josef Gartner Ltd. has been developing facades with different versions of double-shell systems since the 1980s – and these are now increasingly being employed for decentralised facade ventilation in the Anglo-Saxon lands. In German-speaking countries, in contrast, prefabricated facade modules, either with or without deflector skin – including ventilated cavity – as wind protection, have come out ahead.
The firm’s newest development is the operable closed-cavity facade (CCF). More and more, maintenance costs play a decisive role in life-cycle costs or building envelopes. This is one reason that, particularly in countries with high income levels, the first low-maintenance double-shell facades – such as the elaborate CCF facades – are being implemented.