Possibilities and constraints for the widespread application of solar cooling integrated façades
Cooling demands in buildings have drastically increased in the last decades and will follow that trend in the near future, due to increasing standards of life and global climate change among the most relevant factors. Besides energy consumption, the use of refrigerants in common vapor compression cooling technologies is a source of concern for their environmental impact. Hence, there is a need to decrease cooling demands in buildings while looking for alternative clean technologies to take over the remaining loads. Solar cooling systems have gained increased attention these last years, for its potential to lower indoor temperatures using renewable energy, under environmentally friendly cooling processes. Nonetheless, their potential for building integration has not been fully explored, with the exemption of scattered prototypes and concepts. This paper aims to address these knowledge gaps by presenting the results of the PhD research project ‘COOLFACADE: Architectural integration of solar technologies in the building envelope’. The research project explored the possibilities and constraints for architectural integration of solar cooling strategies in façades, in order to support the design of climate responsive architectural products for office buildings, driven by renewable energy sources. The paper explores different aspects related to façade integration and solar cooling technologies, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of current possibilities for façade integration; while drafting recommendations based on identified barriers and bottlenecks at different levels.
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