Despite the significant impact that the position of movable shading devices has on building energy use, peak loads, and visual and thermal comfort, there is a high degree of uncertainty associated with how building occupants actually operate their shades. As a result, unrealistic modeling assumptions in building performance simulation or other design methods may lead to sub-optimal building designs and overestimation or underestimation of cooling loads. In the past 35 years, researchers have published observational studies in order to identify the factors that motivate building occupants to operate shading devices. However, the diversity of the study conditions makes it is difficult to draw universal conclusions that link all contributing factors to shade movement actions. This paper provides a comprehensive and critical review of experimental and study methodologies for manual shade operation in office buildings, their results, and their application to building design and controls. The majority of the many cited factors in office buildings can be categorized into those affecting visual comfort, thermal comfort, privacy, and views. Most office occupants do not operate their shades more than weekly or monthly and they do so based on long-term solar radiation intensity and solar geometry trends rather than reacting to short-term events. They generally operate them to improve visual conditions rather than thermal conditions. Occupants in offices with automatically-controlled heating and cooling tend to be less diligent about using shading devices to improve their comfort.
Building and Environment – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2013
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