Windows for the Proposed Architecture Building

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERS 285

Final Report

Prof. S. Wismer

Prepared by:

Alejandro Cortinas

Matt Sajkunovic

Julian van Mossel-Forrester

Katharina Walton

Monday, April 3, 2000

Windows for the Proposed Architecture Building

Executive Summary

In order for people to bring about a sustainable society there are many areas that need to be addressed. One of the most important issues related to sustainability concerns the buildings people utilize every day. In this way, sustainability is striven for by the grass roots approach of 'thinking and acting locally'. Building sustainability depends on things such as energy efficiency, water consumption, green building materials, and the type and style of windows that are chosen.

As part of the winter 2000 class of 'Greening the Campus' (ERS 285) we were charged with examining the concept of building sustainability in regard to the proposed architecture building at the University of Waterloo. This charge has come from WATgreen, a committee at the university aiming to make the campus into a model of sustainability. Specifically, our group has focused on the windows for the new building.

Windows are a very significant part of any building. The type of window installed in a building will change its energy efficiency. Building sustainability, which can be achieved if the right materials are utilized in construction, will reduce costs as well as energy demands. In addition, windows are important for the well being of the people using it, as well as being aesthetically pleasing for those viewing the building from the outside.

Our research has focused primarily on interviewing staff, students, and professors at the university, carrying out a survey of architecture students, as well as looking into the information and research already available. Over and over again, we have found what great importance windows have to people.

Recommendations we make at the end of this report concern both psychological and technical aspects. Our primary concern is that the new architecture building contains an appropriate window design for people using it to feel comfortable, and that the windows are energy efficient. It is our hope that the University of Waterloo will take the recommendations seriously, and that they will be implemented in the new architecture building.

Windows for the Proposed Architecture Building

 

Table of Contents

Executive Summary -------------------------------------------------------------- 2

Table of Contents ----------------------------------------------------------------- 4

1.0 Background --------------------------------------------------------------- 5

1.1 Sustainability ---------------------------------------------------- 5

1.2 Architecture Building ------------------------------------------ 6

2.0 Project Focus ------------------------------------------------------------- 7

3.0 Methodology ------------------------------------------------------------- 10

4.0 Limitations --------------------------------------------------------------- 14

5.0 Project Results ----------------------------------------------------------- 15

5.1 Psychological Factors ------------------------------------------ 15

5.2 Technical Factors ----------------------------------------------- 18

5.3 Case Study ------------------------------------------------------- 22

5.4 Policies ----------------------------------------------------------- 24

5.5 Survey Results -------------------------------------------------- 26

6.0 Recommendation --------------------------------------------------------- 29

7.0 Conclusion ----------------------------------------------------------------- 31

Bibliography ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 32

Appendix --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 35

Appendix 1 — Systems Diagram --------------------------------------- 36

Appendix 2 — Window Standards and Specifications --------------- 37

Appendix 3 — Survey ---------------------------------------------------- 40

Appendix 4 — Survey Results ------------------------------------------ 41

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows for the Proposed Architecture Building

1.0 — Background

1.1 — Sustainability

Although the concept of sustainability is open to interpretation, a popular definition of sustainable development was published in Our Common Future by the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987, 43). It defines sustainable development as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

This project was completed under the guidelines of Environment and Resource Studies (ERS) 285 in the winter term of 2000. With each term of the class, the student's initiatives undertaken are to become key components of the University of Waterloo's WATgreen program. The WATgreen program was established at the University of Waterloo in 1990. Its vision focuses on developing the University of Waterloo into a model of sustainability. WATgreen's mission statement is "to transform the University of Waterloo into a showcase of environmental responsibility, an ecosystem in harmony with its environment" (11 Mar. 2000). The fulfillment of this statement allows for an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students at the university to increase the quality of their environment, at the same time as assisting with the financial and environmental efficiency of the university (WATgreen 11 Mar. 2000). In recent years WATgreen has changed its focus from a reactive to a proactive approach. Its aim is to change policies so that concrete solutions can be attained.

Within the University of Waterloo campus, there are countless things that could be more environmentally sustainable. A number of students in the ERS 285 class have focused on a proposed new architecture building at the university, to determine how it can fit into the WATgreen vision, and to make recommendations in a few areas of the building proposal including building materials, energy efficiency, windows, and university building policies.

The characteristics of a sustainable building that we have come up with fit into the following three general areas: energy use, cost, and quality. The energy use of a building involves both the life cycle of the materials with which it was constructed, the energy required for maintenance, and the energy input into the building, including inputs such as water and electricity. Cost efficiency involves the initial capital cost and the long term operation and maintenance costs. The quality of a building is measured by the comfort and use that it provides to people that use it and the resistance it has to aging, which dictate the length of time before it may be replaced.

1.2 — Architecture Building

The need for enlarged and improved architecture facilities has been proposed by the School of Architecture. As of yet, it is unknown whether an entirely new building will be built, or if the School of Architecture will move into an already existing building, that will be renovated in the process (Haldenby, 20. Mar. 2000). Possible sites for a new building are on the university campus between Hagey Hall and South Campus Hall, near the Student Life Centre, or on the H parking lot. Other possible sites include off campus sites in Waterloo and Cambridge. The most probable site, however, is the lawn area beside Hagey Hall (Haldenby, 20. Mar. 2000). There is also no date set for the start of construction, and designs have not been made; the process is in the very early stages. Because there is not enough funding available from the governments or the University of Waterloo, the likely source of funding will be the private sector. The estimated cost of the building has been made at $20 million (Haldenby, 1 Feb. 2000).

It is unclear whether or not the university has given the go-ahead for a fundraising campaign to begin. Although funding for the proposed architecture building has not yet officially begun, speculations exist that it may be well underway. The University of Waterloo has a campaign list for big development projects, of which the proposed architecture building is presently at the top of the list for new buildings. Every five years a new project is attempted, and next year's will be the architecture building. According to Bob Gibson of the Department of Environment and Resource Studies, a project is only announced after 40% of the money needed has been raised. Since the project is to be announced next year, Gibson presumes that money is already being raised (1 Mar. 2000). However, Erik Haldenby, Director of the School of Architecture, insists that funding has not yet begun (20 Mar. 2000). Funding, in general, will be done in the traditional fashion, that is, attempting to get money from the province, alumni, and corporate funders, among others.

Waterloo's School of Architecture is well known in the international world of architecture, and if a new building is to be built from scratch, it is likely that an international competition will be held for its design. Erik Haldenby has expressed an interest in receiving student input toward environmental criteria that can be integrated into the design competition.

 

2.0 - Project Focus

The focus of this project is included in our research question: What style and type of windows will contribute to the sustainability of the proposed architecture building and the University of Waterloo campus as a whole? This contribution involves many factors. Our research approaches them through the following three areas as explained above: energy use, cost, and quality.

Windows relate to energy use in terms of the energy required to heat or cool the building, light the space, and the life cycle of the windows. For example, a single-glazed clear glass pane with an aluminum frame will allow more heat leakage, and therefore greater energy loss, than a double-glazed low-e coated argon gas filled wood framed window (Efficient Windows Collaborative 1999). This leakage of heat from the building may reduce its efficiency and hence its sustainability. Another way in which windows can affect the sustainability of a building is by their location within the structure. Windows with a High Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) can be used to passively heat a building. By partially relying on solar energy to heat a building, its dependence on non-renewable resources is diminished. It is also important to select windows that are not overly insulating, as this could increase the need for air conditioning in the warmer months, and possibly even in the cooler months if enough warm bodies are inside.

Cost efficiency involves the initial capital cost and the long term operation and maintenance costs. The initial cost of the windows, all of its components and the cost of installation are important. Also, the impact that windows have on energy use, as outlined above, will in turn affect the long-term cost of maintaining a building.

The quality of windows in a building is measured by the comfort and use that they provide to people in the building and the resistance they have to deterioration, which dictate the length of time before they must be replaced. Comfort involves factors like operability (do the windows open to allow fresh air in, or so that a student can talk to someone outside), natural light allowed in the building which includes the number and size of windows, and the heat that is allowed to enter the building through the windows.

This research project focuses on the choosing of windows for the architecture building by the above general criteria and analyzes relevant standards that are applicable in order to make recommendations for its design and construction.

The important actors involved with the issue of windows for the new architecture building are many fold. A systems diagram of windows including actors and other factors can be looked at in the appendix, figure 7. Because the process of designing and building the proposed architecture building is in its initial stages, not all of them are known.

WATgreen, endorsed by the President of the University of Waterloo, is guiding the application and design of research projects focusing on making the campus more sustainable. Their representative, Patti Cook is Waste Management Coordinator at the University of Waterloo. She assisted our research by providing past WATgreen project information, contacts on the university campus, and other resources. Daniel Parent, the University of Waterloo Architect, will eventually be in charge of administering the process of construction between the architecture faculty and the hired consultants (Parent 31 Jan. 2000).

The School of Architecture is a key player, as they are the ones in need of the new facility. The Director of the school, Erik Haldenby, explains that what they want in a building is primarily a high quality of space for students and an openness to the university and greater community. He is personally interested in the new space having a high quality environmental design that takes advantage of and presents existing environmental technologies. Not all of the architecture faculty share the interest in environmental sustainability however, so the inclusion of such values is not guaranteed (Haldenby 1 Feb. 2000).

Another important actor is the finance committee, which will provide a budget for the entire architecture building and must determine what the available money for windows is. In addition, many of the third year architecture, ERS 285, and ERS 390 students are working on projects related to the proposed architecture building. Our collective input into the process leading up to the realization of the architecture proposal is valuable as a set of voices with environmental concerns. This input may persuade the decision making process toward a sustainable outcome.

3.0 — Methodology

In order to go about our research problem, we used several different methods. It is important to use several different types, as this will insure that accurate data is uncovered and correct results are attained. This form of research is called triangulation, in which three different types of research are used. To complete our research we searched literary sources, conducted interviews, and surveyed the architecture students at the University of Waterloo. These methods are discussed in detail below.

While collecting our data, we had to make sure that what we were finding was both reliable and valid. Reliability is defined as "the degree to which repeated observation of a phenomenon

. . . yields similar results" (Palys 1997, 424). Validity, one the other hand, refers to the degree to which research actually answers the research question (Palys 1997, 428). Both are very important and must not be overlooked.

There are four main types of research objectives as discussed by Ted Palys in his book, Research Decisions (1997, 77-81). In our research we covered the exploratory stage and entered into the descriptive stage through our questionnaire. Exploratory research includes observations, interviews, and literature reviews. Its focus is to understand a topic on general terms and allows the formulation of a research question (Palys 1997, 77, 81). Descriptive research moves further along the continuum from qualitative to quantitative research. Its goal is to accurately describe the characteristics of a certain group (Palys 1997, 80), in our case for example, the architecture students. In order to come up with descriptive data, we handed out a survey among the architecture students, questioning them as to their preferences and attitudes to windows.

Most of our research was done with a qualitative approach. Consequently an inductive approach was used. This in turn means that research is carried out before a concrete theory has emerged–the theory evolves out of the research done (Palys 1997, 49). The qualitative approach also embraces phenomenologism and constructionism. Phenomenologism takes people’s perceptions into account (Palys 1997, 17). Throughout our research we attempted to do this through interviews, personal e-mails, and the questionnaire. Constructionism states that people ‘construct’ their own views on the world, and so there is no ‘real world’ perse (Palys 1997, 19). Therefore it was important for us to recognize where the information was attained, and under what circumstances. Data may vary according to these.

Gathering information from literary sources, which included written material on the Internet, meant that we were looking at research already done by others. This was extremely helpful, but the data had to be tailored to suit the needs of the University of Waterloo and the School of Architecture. Much of our research was conducted by interviewing professors, staff, and students at the university. Our approach to the interviews was informal, as all actors we talked to had very different expertise, and so we questioned them as to their area of knowledge. Ted Palys (1997, 155) states the "qualitative researchers view the data-gathering process itself as informative, maintaining that one must be open to any new directions that may emerge in the context of the interview because of the unique perspective of the participant(s)." Some interviews were conducted in person, some over the telephone, and still others by e-mail. The following table lists the people and companies we interviewed.

Table 1: Interviews

ACTOR

TITLE

INFORMATION

Bavarian Windows

Window distributor

Types of windows, prices

GTS Windows

Window distributor

Types of windows, prices

Howald Glass and Siding

Window distributor

Types of windows, prices

Kitchener Glass

Window distributor

Types of windows, prices

Ventra-Lux Tri-City

Window distributor

Types of windows, prices

David Churchill

Plant Operations

Heating of buildings, efficient windows

Patti Cook

Waste Management Coordinator

Background information

Bob Gibson

Environment and Resource Studies

Funding, location

Erik Haldenby

Head of School of Architecture

Status of proposed building, efficient windows

Lisa Huard

Purchasing Department

Contracts

Denis Huber

General Services and Finance

Policies

Brian Hunt

School of Architecture

Lighting requirements and preferences

Daniel Parent

University Architect

Efficient windows, policies, UW requirements

The third part of our triangulation involved producing and handing out a questionnaire. The questionnaire, as well as the actual results can be looked at in the appendix. Questionnaires are good research tools, as they "generate a substantial amount of data relatively quickly and cheaply" (Palys 1997, 146). The questionnaire was handed out randomly, by placing a questionnaire on the students’ drafting table. Approximately every second table was given a survey. The questionnaire was deliberately made short and concise, able to fit onto one page because architecture students are known to be extremely busy. We also positioned the drop-off box close to the students’ workstations, so that they would be more likely to complete the questionnaire and hand it in. In this way, we hoped to attain a high response rate and reduce the volunteer bias. A volunteer bias is "the result of the fact that people who volunteer to participate in research are often different in a number of ways from those who don’t" (Palys 1997, 428). It is important to reduce the volunteer bias, so that one can generalize from the attitudes of the people that completed a questionnaire, to the entire population, which is in this case, all the architecture students. Since the questionnaires were distributed by placing them on the student drafting tables while the students were not present, the questionnaire is most similar to a mail-out questionnaire. This is a questionnaire where there is no personal contact between the researcher(s) and the respondent (Palys 1997, 144). This has some advantages as well as weaknesses. The strengths of this method include that one can collect a large amount of data without much effort. It is also a good way of getting a heterogeneous sample, as well as maximizing anonymity (Palys 1997, 148). The cons to this type of questionnaire are that no further clarification can be given to ambiguous questions, there is usually a low response rate, and one cannot be sure if the person one hoped, actually answered the questionnaire (Palys 1997, 148). These weaknesses can be minimized, however, and we believe they are not an issue in the survey we conducted. By making sure the questionnaire was short, simple, and easily understood, we could avoid misinterpretations of the questions. As well, we did not receive any indication, that someone misunderstood a part of the questionnaire. Second, we had a fairly good response rate. Palys states that "impersonal mail-out questionnaires . . . commonly result in response rates of between 10 percent and 40 percent" (1997, 146). We had a response rate of 38.3%. Lastly, we made sure that only architecture students would answer the questionnaire by handing the surveys out directly in there drafting rooms.

 

4.0 - Limitations

The main limitations to our research project were time and experience. A time period of one term was given for our project’s completion, which left a little over three months to complete the research and prepare the report and the presentation. Also, the fact that all members involved in the research have other responsibilities in additional classes places restrictions. Time also affects the process of interviews, when it is not easy to arrange meeting times with people. As second-year students at the University of Waterloo, we, the researchers have only had a limited amount of experience within the area of windows and the practice of strategic research. As well, there was no money to help in the research, which constituted another limitation.

In terms of areas covered by our project, we tried to research as many areas as possible given the limitations listed above. We were not, however, able to cover a life cycle analysis of windows in our report. Though this is an important issue in window sustainability, we simply did not have the resources to conduct this research.

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 - Project Results

5.1 - Psychological Factors

Traditionally, windows serve two kinds of purpose: illumination and ventilation (Matus 1988, 84), but there are many other types of lesser functions that add a lot to the atmosphere of a building and the well being of its inhabitants. These functions include the smell of outside air, hearing outside noises, being able to talk to people outside and simply being aware of the outside environment. Research has shown that for people to feel comfortable working in a building, at least 20% of the wall space should be occupied by windows (Fitch 1999, 116). Fitch also states that gazing out of windows offers psychic as well as optical relief from "a highly structured and unnaturally monochromatic experience" (116). This will allow people to feel better, be able to concentrate better, and produce better work.

Although all windows have a generally positive psychological effect on people, these effects may vary, depending on which compass direction the window is facing. Southern windows receive direct sun for most of the day. Southern light creates sharp contrasts between light and dark, and brings a "sense of energy, triumph, joy, the mobilization of human capacities, and the drive to survive" (Matus 1988, 84). Rooms with southern light are very warm and cheery, most conductive to movement (Matus 1988, 85) and would be well suited as classrooms and social gathering places.

Northern windows are a sharp contrast to those facing south. Northern light is less intense, and is quite uniform throughout the day and seasons. It often "evokes peace, timelessness, dreams, contemplation, passiveness" (Matus 1988, 85) and may be depressing at times. Such light, however, is excellent for architecture studios and exhibit rooms. Northern light is preferred for drawing because it alters colours the least, does not cast extreme shadows, and enhances contour (Hunt, 2000).

Eastern light is "most often associated with birth, optimism, expectation, hope, and feelings of welcome" (Matus 1988, 86) since it occurs with the rising sun each morning. Western light is somewhat controversial. On hot summer days, western light penetrates an already very hot room in the evening, causing discomfort. As long as this can be controlled, however, it can also be very pleasant and needed, especially since a lot of work is still done in the evening in the architecture department (Hunt 1 Mar. 2000).

Talking to students and professors at the School of Architecture has shown us quite clearly that natural light is far preferred over artificial light. In fact, according to our questionnaire, everyone stated that they prefer natural light over electrical light as the main source of lighting. Windows are also wanted for their psychological benefits. For architectural studios, northern light is preferred, although a combination of northern light and a more cheery light would be ideal, as long as the brighter light could be screened when necessary. This combination could be achieved through the use of skylights. As well, skylights would help bring more natural light further into the room, ensuring that all architectural drafting tables get an adequate amount. Our survey showed that in fact only 35% of the students get enough natural light at their workstation. The other 65% do not get enough (Figure 1).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1: Student answer to the question, "Do you have enough

natural light at your drafting table during the day?"

In addition, operable windows are far preferred over fixed windows for the benefit of fresh air, hearing sounds from outside, being able to talk to people outside, among many other things. These may be subtle benefits, but "they add a lot to the feel of a building" (Hunt 1 Mar. 2000). Again, our questionnaire showed that 100% of those who completed the survey preferred operable windows over fixed windows. For reference, "operable" means that the windows can be opened some how, whereas "fixed" windows cannot be opened. Comments made by students suggest that it would be ideal to have windows that have the option of being able to open at the top as well. This is very important so that wind does not blow papers away.

 

 

5.2 — Technical Factors

In order to better understand energy efficient windows, it is first important to understand the terminology and materials associated with them. Factors such as window types, spacers, frames, glazes, radiation, conduction, convection and air leakages all affect the overall performance of any window.

One of the important factors to consider when choosing a window, is the type of window that is most appropriate. The two different types of windows are fixed windows and operable windows (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 9). Secondly, there are also several types of operable windows. Figure 2 illustrates the different types of operable windows.

Figure 2: Types of Operable Windows

(Adapted from–Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 9)

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency (1998, 9-10), fixed windows are more efficient than operable windows because of their "better air-tightness characteristics". However, operable windows that utilize a compression seal, such as the awning, casement, turn and tilt, and hopper, are more efficient than widows that utilize a sliding seal (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 10).

Another important factor contributing to the overall efficiency of a window is the glazing that is used in the window. The term glazing refers to the pane of glass that is used within the window. There are three different types of glazes used in normal windows. These are single-glazed, double-glazed and triple-glazed window units. The number of glazes within a window affects the insulation value of the window (Efficient Windows Collaborative 1999, 3). The number of glazes will also affect the solar gains of the window. A single glazed window will allow 88% of the incoming solar radiation to enter a building (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 17), a double glazed window will allow 78% of the suns rays into the building, and a triple glazed window will allow in 70% (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 17).

A factor related to window glazes is the ability to apply a low-e coating to one of the glazes in a window unit. Standard glass allows both short wave and long-wave radiation to easily pass through it (Figure 3). As a result, at night heat energy (long-wave radiation) is easily lost through the window. This is known as the "high-emissivity characteristic of conventional glazing" (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 29). As a result, researchers developed a ‘low-emissivity’ (low-e) coating that is "transparent to short-wave solar energy" and "opaque to long-wave infrared energy" (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 29). This means that most of the sun’s energy will be allowed through the low-e coating, while heat energy from within the building will be reflected and not allowed to pass through the coating. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency (1998, 29) the low-e coating is a "benefit both in winter, because it keeps the heat in, and in the summer, because it keeps out the heat radiated from warm objects outside". Figure 4 visually demonstrates the benefits of the low-e coatings.

Figure 3: Night heat loss Figure 4: Benefits of low-e coated windows in

winter and summer

(Adapted from — Office of Energy Efficiency, 1998, 29)

An additional factor that contributes to the efficiency of a window is the unit that houses the glazing. The parts that make up the unit are the spacers, the window frame, and the sash. The spacer is a strip of material that is responsible for "maintaining a uniform separation between the panes of glass" (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 12). According to the Office of Energy Efficiency (1998, 12), spacers have traditionally been made of hollow aluminum. Metal spacers, however, are a notable source of heat loss and poor window performance because they conduct energy easily (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998,12). Therefore, insulated aluminum spacers are a better option and graphite spacers offer the best protection against conduction (Pickles, 3 Mar. 2000). Window frames and sashes can also be major sources of heat loss due to leakages and conduction through the material (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 12). Hence, it is also important to use a frame and sash that is well constructed and has a low conductivity rate. There are several types of material that can be used such as aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, wood, and combinations and composites of these.

The final factor that effects the efficiency of windows is convection. In a window, convection occurs due to air movement between the spaces of multi-glazed windows (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 18). Convection is the transmission of heat by liquids or gases (Smith 1998, 525), and results in heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. One way in which the convection can be reduced is to ensure that the spacing between the glazes is at least 12-16 mm wide (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 18). Another way that the convection can be reduced is to put argon or krypton gas into the space between the glazes. Argon gas is a relatively inexpensive way to reduce convection losses, at $0.90/sq. foot of window space (Kitchener Glass 3 Mar. 2000). Moreover, argon also reduces conduction losses because it has a lower conductivity rate than air (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 30).

There are many ways in which the efficiency of windows is measured. One of the best ways to examine a window's efficiency is to examine its U-value, solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), and air leakages. The U-value measures the conductivity, or heat transfer by the glazing (Willmar Windows 1995). The lower the U-value is, the better the glazing is at resisting heat transfer (Willmar Windows 1995). The United States Department of Energy, as a member of the Efficient Windows Collaborative (1999, 2), suggests that an efficient window should have a U-value of at least 0.35 or less. The SHGC is a measure of the fraction of incident solar radiation transferred through a window versus that which is reflected (Willmar Windows 1995). The lower the number, the better the window is at blocking heat, the higher the number, the better the glazing is at collecting heat. The Efficient Windows Collaborative (1999, 20) suggests that to reduce heating costs it is best to select a window with a high SHGC, usually between 0.30 and 0.60. If cooling is a major concern, then they suggest a window with a SHGC of less than 0.55. Lastly, it is important to reduce the amount of air leakage through windows. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency (1998, 19), fixed windows tend to have the lowest rates of leakage. Moreover, the operable windows with the least amount of air leakage are awning, casement, and other types that have a closure mechanism that pulls the sash against a compression gasket (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 19). Another major cause of leakages is poorly installed windows. The space between the outside perimeter of the window frame and the rough opening should be sealed with caulking or foam insulation to prevent air leakage (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 19). A window should at least meet the CSA A440-A3 requirement for air leakage (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 25).

Lastly, it is important to be able to screen the sunlight to reduce excess heating and lighting, especially in rooms with south facing windows. Screening can be done through the use of window coatings, indoor blinds, overhangs, and deciduous trees. It is recommended that deciduous trees without a lot of branching are planted outside of south-facing windows. The trees provide shading in the summer, but allow sunlight to penetrate the room in winter when the leaves have fallen off the tree (Office of Energy Efficiency 1998, 16).

5.3 — Case Study

Another aspect of our research was an analysis of the costs associated with increasing a windows performance. We discovered that the average cost of a hard coat low-e coating is approximately $2.00 per square foot (Bavarian Window Works 2000). The average cost of a soft coat low-e coating is approximately $2.50 per square foot (Bavarian Window Works 2000). The soft coat low-e differs slightly from the hard coat low-e in that it blocks heat gains to reduce air conditioning bills in moderate climates (Willmar Windows 1995). The hard coat utilizes the solar gains to reduce heating losses in the winter and thus reduces heating bills (Willmar Windows 1995). We also found that argon gas was a relatively inexpensive way to help reduce convection and conduction losses in a window unit. The cost of argon ranges from $0.00, as some manufacturers include it for free due to its relative low cost (Howald Glass and Siding Products 2000), to $0.90 per square foot (Kitchener Glass 2000).

In order to understand the possible monetary savings that energy efficient windows can provide, it is important to know a lot about the building that they are being installed in. To calculate energy savings we need to know information about factors such as the insulation value of the walls (R-value), solar angles, building orientation, building screenings, and the type of heating and cooling system. Since there are no plans for the proposed architecture building as of yet, it would be imprudent to make monetary predictions that have no factual basis. As a result of these constraints we have decided to examine a study prepared by the Efficient Windows Collaborative (1999). In the study, a 2000 square foot home with double glazed clear glass windows with a U-value of 0.64 and a SHGC of 0.62, was compared to the same home with double glazed low-e coated windows with an argon fill. The second building had windows with a U-value of 0.32 and a SHGC of 0.30. The buildings had 300 square feet of window space that are evenly distributed around building. Moreover, the buildings were heated by a natural gas furnace and cooled by an electric air conditioner. The shading of the building included interior blinds, overhangs, trees, and neighbouring buildings.

The results of the study showed that the building with the double glazed low-e coated windows with an argon fill saved more money on heating and cooling costs than the same building with just double glazed clear glass windows. On average, the building with the efficient windows saved approximately $150 more annually on heating and cooling costs than the building without the efficient windows.

We compared these findings with the costs of the low-e coating and the argon fill. Since there was 300 square feet of window space, the low-e coating would cost approximately $600. The argon gas fill would cost between $0 and $270. Therefore, the total cost of upgrading the windows would be between $600 and $870 for this building. Since the annual monetary savings of the building with the energy efficient windows was approximately $150, the savings would pay for the costs of the low-e coating and the argon fill in 4 to 6 years. After that time, the homeowner would achieve $150 annual monetary savings, and the benefits of less electricity and natural gas consumption would be attained by society as a whole. Although this study was performed on a residential building, we strongly feel that the savings realized by the homeowner are relative to the possible monetary savings that the University of Waterloo could achieve by installing energy efficient windows.

5.4 — Policies

Normally at the University of Waterloo, windows for new buildings or window replacements are selected by engineers and architects chosen by the university and then reviewed by the staff at Plant Operations (Huber 31 Jan. 2000). The standards used by the engineers and architects may vary from case to case, but all contracts that go through Plant Operations must meet the relevant specifications in the University of Waterloo Building Specification Document (Huber 31 Jan. 2000) and those standards included in the Ontario Building Code (OBC) (Parent 31 Jan. 2000).

The University of Waterloo Building Specifications Document, available at Plant Operations, contains at least five sections that relate to windows, but none of them pertain to energy efficiency requirements. The specifications are more practical instructions on how to install windows, with some quality requirements.

"Part Five: Wind, Water, and Vapour Protection", of the OBC (Housing Development and Buildings 1997) applies to the physical separation of different environments. Only the separation of the inside of the building from the outside involves windows, which must have the ability to withstand the environmental load and remain intact. Windows are mentioned in the heat transfer, air leakage, and precipitation sections, where it is required that they meet the following standards: CAN/CSA-A440-M-Windows and CAN/CGSB-12.8M-Insulating Glass Units. Since 1997, CAN/CGSB-12.8M has been upgraded to CAN/CGSB-12.8-97, which adds standard testing for argon gas concentration, if applicable.

These standards do not specifically suggest appropriate or different levels of energy efficiency, with the exception of Table 1 of CSA A440-M/98, which depicts three levels of air tightness. Otherwise, they focus on determining the energy efficiency of a window, or providing standards for window quality.

Another standard that must be met under the OBC is ASHRAE 90.1-1989-‘Energy Efficiency Design of New Buildings Except Lowrise Residential Buildings’ (Parent 28 Mar. 2000). This standard deals with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in buildings. Although this system includes windows, it focuses mainly on both the system as a whole and the heating and cooling mechanics of the system. There is an updated version of the standard currently in the approval process which will reduce energy use in new buildings by up to 16% and save the building owner up to 20% (ASHRAE 1999). Because of time constraints, complete analysis of this ASHRAE standard was not completed, but it is recommended that its usefulness is assessed in further.

A list of standards and specifications that relate to windows in buildings can be found in Appendix 2.

Presently it is unclear which window standards will be chosen for the new architecture building. The building will be required to meet the usual standards of the University, covered under the OBC, but it may also go beyond in its energy efficiency. We hope that the building design will incorporate at least some of our recommendations.

In addition, the University of Waterloo currently has a contract with Kitchener Glass. This company supplies the university with replacement windows as they are needed in existing buildings. The contract does not apply to the new buildings and is valid for only one year (Huard 2 Mar. 2000). The university is therefore not bound to buying windows from Kitchener Glass for the new architecture building.

6.4 — Survey

The actual results to our survey can also be viewed in the appendix of this report. The results we attained through the survey, support what we found out through our other research methods. As predicted, the vast majority (87%) of students do not like being in a room without any windows. Only 13% like it or are neutral to the idea (Figure 5). Along with this idea, all students prefer natural light (sunlight) over artificial light (electrical) as a main source of lighting in a building. Most students (52%) are content with the size of windows in the present architecture studio, though none say they are too large. Another 48%, however, believe the windows are too small. According to many comments we received back on the questionnaires, we believe that those who stated the windows are too small probably have drafting tables towards the centre of the room. There is, therefore, not enough natural light reaching all of the desks. This statement is backed up by the results of question number four, where 65% of the students stated that they did not receive enough natural light at their work station. The other 35% stated they did have enough natural light. Another aspect of windows is whether they open and close. The unanimous feeling among the architecture students is that they far prefer windows that are operable. This fact cannot be stressed enough, since this aspect was also strongly emphasized by the architecture professors we spoke to and in the literature we read.

Figure 5: Student answers to the question,

"Do you like being in a room with no windows?"

Figure 6: Importance of Windows in Several Different Rooms

 

Question number six of our survey referred to the importance windows have to students in various rooms (Figure 6). In classrooms the majority (55%) of students believe windows are somewhat important, compared to 41% that say they are very important, and only 4% that say they are not important. Again, in computer labs the majority (52%) say windows are somewhat important, whereas 22% say they are very important and 26% say they are not important. Students definitely believe windows are important in the studios (96%), compared to 4% that believe they are only somewhat important. In student lounges 92% said windows are very important, 4% said they were somewhat important, and another 4% said they were not important. The importance of windows is clearly seen. Though the importance of windows in a computer lab is not that important as in other rooms such as studios, we do want to accentuate that they should not be left out if possible. Being able to look into the distance, especially through a window gives relief to eyes and psyche after staring into a computer screen for a long time. The natural environment viewed through a window can be very calming and relieving (Fitch 1999, 116).

Pertaining to the types of light students prefer, 14% said they like bright sunlight in a drawing room and 86% stated that they would prefer equal lighting. Again, for a classroom 38% said they would favour bright sunlight and 62% said they would not like bright light. This also validates our other research. It is important to have equal lighting in a drawing room because it will not distort colours as much as bright light. This can be achieved by facing the windows north.

 

 

7.0 - Recommendations

1. Windows should occupy at least 20% of the wall space. (See page 15 for details).

2. Social gathering areas such as the student lounge should be situated so that they receive

southern light, as this is more conducive to socialization. (See page 15 for details).

3. Architecture studios and exhibition rooms should be situated so that they receive northern light. (See pages 15 and 16).

4. Skylights should be used in the architecture studios to provide sufficient light requirements

for all drafting tables. (See page 16).

A variation of skylights could be used in order to provide northern light: pyramid-

shaped skylights can be used, where the actual window faces north, and the rest of the

pyramid is wall (Ballantyne 13 Feb. 2000).

5. Different types of screening should be considered to allow control of heating and lighting.

Window coatings, blinds, overhangs, and deciduous trees are options. (See page 21).

6. Windows should be operable, and should have the option of opening at the top. (See page 17).

Operable windows should work with a compression seal.

Examples of windows with compression seal are casement, turn and tilt, awning, and

hopper windows (see page 18). We suggest awning type windows. These have the

advantage of shedding water when it rains, and protect the room interior from getting

wet. In addition, the window pane will not get in the way of working students if a

window, such as a casement style, were to open inward.

7. The windows should be double-glazed and employ a low-e coating. (See pages 18-19).

8. The spacers used to separate the glazes should be made of graphite or an insulated hybrid composite, which uses metals and non-metallic materials. (See pages 19-20).

9. Argon gas should be used in between the glazes. (See page 20).

10. The window frame and sash should have thermal breaks and well sealed joints. They should also have a low conduction rate. Therefore, aluminum should be avoided and fiberglass, wood, and composites considered. (See page 20).

11. The window should have a U-value of less than 0.35. (See page 20).

12. The window should have a solar heat gain coefficient value between 0.30 and 0.60. (See

page 21).

13. The window should have a CSA A440 Air Leakage Rating of at least A3. (See page 21).

14. We suggest that further research into the effectiveness of ASHRAE 90.1-89 be done.

  1. Research into the energy standards that other universities have adopted as well as research
  2. into alternative energy codes such as the Model National Energy Code for Buildings and the United States Green Building Councils LEED Green Building Rating System is recommended.

  3. Research should also be done concerning the issue of windows being opened during hot

summer months and cold winter months, when the heating and cooling system is being used.

 

 

 

 

 

8.0 — Conclusion

Though windows are only a relatively small part in the construction of a building, they are extremely important and must be carefully considered. Besides looking at the cost of windows, great emphasis must be given to the sustainability of the windows. As mentioned throughout the report, this includes several facets. Windows must be sustainable in terms of the materials they are constructed of, their durability, and their insulating value. Windows can be used to passively heat a building, as well as to cool it in the summer. Furthermore, windows must be sustainable in the way they relate to people. Those using the building must feel good inside it. As well, windows can contribute to the physical and psychological well being of people. Because of their significance, it was important that this issue be looked at more in depth by one of the student groups taking the "Greening the Campus" course through WATgreen. For this reason, we set out to find out what style and type of windows would contribute to the sustainability of the proposed architecture building and the university as a whole. Through a three-fold research technique, we were able to come up with concrete results to answer our research problem. We have summarized our process, the results, and recommendations in this report, and presented it to fellow classmates and a panel of university professors and staff. It is our sincere hope and wish that this report and its recommendations would be taken seriously, and that the right decisions concerning the windows of the new architecture building will be made. Sustainability is for the present as well as for the future. It is essential that we all work toward it.

 

Bibliography

 

 

Ahlberg, Steven et al. The Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering: An

Opportunity for Change on Campus. WATgreen project. University of Waterloo, 1995. <http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infowast/watgreen/projects/library/800/final.html>.

ASHRAE. ASHRAE News Release. June, 1999. 29 Mar. 2000.

<http://www.ashrae.org/ABOUT/901rel.htm>.

ASHRAE. ASHRAE Standard 90.1-89- Energy Efficiency Design of New Buildings Except

Lowrise Residential Buildings. Place of Publication unkown: ASHRAE, 1989.

ASHRAE® Online. 11 Mar. 2000. <http://www.ashrae.org>.

Ballantyne, Heather. Personal interview. 13 Feb. 2000.

Bavarian Window Works. Personal interview. 23 Mar. 2000.

Bingeman, R. et al. University of Waterloo’s New Environmental Science and Engineering

Building. WATgreen project. University of Waterloo, 1996. <http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infowast/watgreen/projects/library/850/final.html>.

Canadian General Standards Board. 12 Mar. 2000. <http://www.pwgsc.gc.ca/cgsb> and

<http://www.pwgsc.gc.ca/cgsb/catalogue/catalogue_lists/num_standards_e.html>.

Canadian General Standards Board. CAN/CGSB-12.8-97-Insulating Glass Units. Ottawa,

Canada: CGSB, 1997.

Canadian General Standards Board. CAN/CGSB-12.4-M91-Heat Absorbing Glass. Ottawa,

Canada: CGSB, 1991.

Canadian Standards Association. A440-98-Windows and Special Publication A440.1-98 User

Selection Guide to CSA Standard A440-98-Windows. Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada: CSA,

1998.

Canadian Standards Association. A440.2-98-Energy Performance of Windows and Other

Fenestration Systems. Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada: CSA, 1998.

Churchill, David. "Re: Windows." E-mail to Katharina Walton. 14 Feb. 2000.

Churchill, David. Personal interview. 1 Mar. 2000.

Cook, Patti. "Group Project Stuff". E-mail to Julian van Mossel-Forrester. 27 Jan. 2000.

Cook, Patti. Personal interview. 27 Jan. 2000.

Efficient Windows Collaborative. Selecting Efficient Windows. 1 Sept. 1999.

<www.efficientwindows.org>.

Environmental Protection. Agency EPA Energy Programs - ENERGY STAR and Million Solar Roofs. 12 Mar. 2000. <http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/newnet/estar2.htm>.

Fitch, James Marston, with William Bobenhausen. American Building: The environmental

forces that shape it. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1999.

Gibson, Bob. Personal interview. 1 Mar. 2000.

Haldenby, Erik. Personal interview. 1 Feb. 2000.

Haldenby, Erik. "Re: proposed architecture building." E-mail to Katharina Walton. 20. March

2000.

Housing Development and Buildings, Ontario. Ontario Building Code. Toronto: Ministry of

Municipal Affairs and Housing, Housing Development and Buildings Branch, 1997.

Howald Glass and Siding Products. Personal interview. 23 Mar. 2000.

Huard, Lisa. Personal interview. 2 Mar. 2000.

Huber, Dennis. "Re: windows." E-mail to Julian van Mossel-Forrester. 31 Jan. 2000.

Hunt, Brian. Personal interview. 1 Mar. 2000.

Kitchener Glass. Personal interview. 3 Mar. 2000.

Lopez Barnet, Dianna. A Primer on Sustainable Building. Snowmass, Colorado: The Institute, 1995

Markus, T.A., and E.N. Morris. Buildings, Climate and Energy. London: Pitman Publishing

Ltd., 1980.

Matus, Vladimir. Design for Northern Climates. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold

Company, 1988.

Model National Energy Code for Buildings. 11 Mar. 2000.

<http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/New/ecode_e.htm>.

Office of Energy Efficiency. Consumer’s Guide To Buying Energy-Efficient Windows and

Doors. Ottawa: Natural Resources Canada, 1998.

Palys, Ted. Research Decisions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Toronto: Harcourt

Canada Ltd., 1997.

Parent, Daniel. "Re: windows." E-mail to Julian van Mossel-Forrester. 31 Jan. 2000.

Parent, Daniel. "Re: Windows." E-mail to Katharina Walton. 14 Feb. 2000.

Parent, Daniel. "Re: windows.(2)" E-mail to Julian van Mossel-Forrester. 28 Mar. 2000.

Pickles, Randy. Personal interview. 3 March 2000.

Plant Operations. Building Specifications Document. The University of Waterloo (Date

unknown)

Smith, Robert Leo, and Thomas M. Smith. Elements of Ecology. Don Mills: Addison Wesley

Longman, Inc., 1998.

Ural, Oktay, ed. Energy Resources and Conservation Related to Built Environment.2 vols.

Toronto: Pergamon Press, 1980.

United States Green Building Council. 11 Mar. 2000. <http://www.usgbc.org>.

WATgreen. 11 Mar. 2000. <http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infowast/watgreen>.

Willmar Windows Ltd. Insulating Glass (pamphlet). Canada: 1995.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford

University Press, 1987.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 1

 

 

 

 


 

Figure 7: The Physical and Organizational System of Windows

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 2

Following is a list of standards and specifications that relate specifically to windows in buildings:

University of Waterloo Building Specifications Document.

Section 08500: Metal Windows.

Section 08610-1: Wood Windows and Doors.

Section 08710: Finished Hardware

Section 08810: Glass and Glazings

Section 10700-1: Sun Control.

Canadian Standards Association

CAN/CSA-A440-M -- Windows

A440.2-93 -- Energy Performance Evaluation of Windows and Sliding Glass Doors

Canadian General Standards Board.

CAN/CGSB-12.8-97 -- Insulating Glass Units (supersedes CAN/CGSB-12.8M)

CAN/CGSB-12.2-M -- Glass, Sheet, Flat, Clear

"This standard applies to flat, transparent, clear sheet glass having glossy, fire- finished, apparently plane and smooth surfaces, but having a characteristic waviness of surface, for glazing, mirrors and other uses" (CGSB 12 Mar. 2000).

CAN/CGSB-12.3-M -- Flat, Clear Float Glass

"This standard applies to flat, clear glass of the float type produced by floating the glass on a bath of molten metal" (CGSB 12 Mar. 2000).

CAN/CGSB-12.4-M -- Glass, Heat Absorbing

"This standard applies to flat, transparent glass, obtainable as sheet, polished plate or float glass, that is substantially opaque to infrared radiation including the short- wave infrared, possessing absorbing properties to control transmission of light, heat, and solar radiation and intended primarily for building construction use" (CGSB 12 Mar. 2000).

CAN/CGSB-12.10-M -- Glass, Light and Heat Reflecting:

"This standard applies to flat, transparent glass, obtainable as polished plate or float glass, one side of which is covered with a thin metallic oxide coating possessing high reflective properties to control transmission of light, heat and solar radiation" (CGSB 12 Mar. 2000).

CAN/CGSB-13.2-M -- Glass, Polished Plate or Float, Flat, Clear

CAN/CGSB-12.1--M -- Glass, Safety, Tempered or Laminated:

"This standard applies to glass, that has been tempered or combined with other materials to reduce the likelihood of injury to persons by objects projected from an exterior source or by glass fragments when the glass is cracked or broken. It specifies requirements for safety glass intended primarily for use in doors and adjacent glazed panels and is particularly applicable to glazed exterior/interior passageway doors, storm (combination) doors, patio doors, shower and bathtub doors and their enclosures" (CGSB 12 Mar. 2000).

CAN/CGSB-63.14-M -- Plastic Skylights

"This standard applies to plastic skylights intended for use on buildings" (CGSB 12 Mar. 2000).

American Society of Heating, Refridgeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers

ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-1989-Energy Efficiency Design of New Buildings Except Lowrise Residential Buildings

Other codes and standards that may be useful for further research:

Model National Energy Code for Buildings (11 Mar. 2000)

United States Green Building Council (11 Mar. 2000)

Includes the LEED Green Building Rating System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 3

Windows for the Proposed Architecture Building

Thank you for taking the time to look at this. We are a group of students taking the ERS 285 course, Greening the Campus, under the supervision of Prof. S. Wismer (x5797). Presently, we are researching what type of windows should be put into the new architecture building when it is built. We would greatly appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Additional comments are appreciated.

  1. Do you like being in a room with no windows?
  1. During daytime, where would you prefer most of the light in a building to come from?
  1. Do you feel that the window area in the current architecture studio is a good size?
  1. Do you have enough natural light at your drafting table / work station during the day?
  1. Do you prefer windows that:
  1. How important is it to have windows in the following rooms for you? (Please mark either A=Very important, B=Somewhat important, or C=Not important)
  2. Classroom = _____

    Computer lab = _____

    Studio = _____

    Student lounge area = _____

  3. What type of natural light would you prefer when working in a drawing room?
  1. What type of natural light would you prefer in a classroom?
  1. Please add any additional comments on windows and related issues (may use back of sheet).

Thank you very much for completing this questionnaire. Your answers will be thoughtfully considered.

PLEASE DROP THIS QUESTIONNAIRE INTO THE BOX OUTSIDEOF ES2 270 (the architecture office) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE OR BY THIS FRIDAY (MARCH 18) AT THE LATEST. THANKS.

Appendix 4

Windows for the Proposed Architecture Building

Thank you for taking the time to look at this. We are a group of students taking the ERS 285 course, Greening the Campus, under the supervision of Prof. S. Wismer (x5797). Presently, we are researching what type of windows should be put into the new architecture building when it is built. We would greatly appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Additional comments are appreciated.

1. Do you like being in a room with no windows?

2. During daytime, where would you prefer most of the light in a building to come from?

3. Do you feel that the window area in the current architecture studio is a good size?

4. Do you have enough natural light at your drafting table / work station during the day?

5. Do you prefer windows that:

6. How important is it to have windows in the following rooms for you? (Please mark either A=Very

important, B=Somewhat important, or C=Not important)

Classroom = _____ A = 41% B = 55% C = 4%

Computer lab = _____ A = 22% B = 52% C = 26%

Studio = _____ A = 96% B = 4% C = 0%

Student lounge area = _____ A = 92% B = 4% C = 4%

7. What type of natural light would you prefer when working in a drawing room?

8. What type of natural light would you prefer in a classroom?

9. Please add any additional comments on windows and related issues (may use back of sheet).

Thank you very much for completing this questionnaire. Your answers will be thoughtfully considered.

PLEASE DROP THIS QUESTIONNAIRE INTO THE BOX OUTSIDEOF ES2 270 (the architecture office) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE OR BY THIS FRIDAY (MARCH 18) AT THE LATEST. THANKS.