Solar Activated Facade

January 21, 2018
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Solar thermal glass and wood cladding system

Conventional facades attempt to decouple the building interior from the exterior. The Solar Activated Facade (SAF) is designed to bridge inside and outside via a thermally activated buffer. Originally invented by a Swiss architect in 1998, the SAF consists of slanted, horizontal slats of solid wood combined with a back-vented glass curtain wall. The exterior glass protects the wood from the elements and preserves the thermal buffering effect, trapping heat inside the envelope for delayed release. Behind the SAF is a conventional structural wall of insulated wood or masonry construction.

In the winter solar radiation is transmitted through the glass curtain wall and absorbed by the wood louvers. The wood gradually warms during the daylight hours and releases heat after sunset over the course of four to twelve hours. During this period, building heat losses are minimized, as the system functions as a thermal barrier against the cold. In the summer the sun strikes the wooden louvers at a steeper angle and the slats are self-shadowing. As a result, the facade absorbs less solar radiation than in the winter.

The Solar Activated Facade was first offered in Switzerland under the name Lucido, and Nelson Solar GmbH has more recently introduced SAF to the American market.

Contact: Nelson Solar GmbH, Cham, Switzerland.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

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