Balancing daylight, glare, and energy-efficiency goals: An evaluation of exterior coplanar shading systems using complex fenestration modeling tools

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published





Exterior shades are the most effective way to control solar load in buildings. Twelve different coplanar shades with different geometry, material properties and cut-off angles were investigated for two California climates: the moderate San Francisco Bay Area climate and a hot and dry Southern California climate. The presented results distinguish themselves from other simulation studies by a newly developed method that combines three research-grade software programs (Radiance, EnergyPlus and Window 7) to calculate heat transfer, daylight, and glare resulting from optically-complex fenestration systems more accurately. Simulations were run for a case with constant electric lighting and a case with daylighting controls for a prototypical, internal load dominated office building.

In the case of daylighting controls, the choice of slat angle and solar cut-off angle of a fixed exterior slat shading system is non trivial. An optimum slat angle was identified for the considered cases. Material properties (e.g., solar and visible reflectance) did not affect energy use if constant electric lighting was assumed, but they did have a significant influence on energy use intensity (EUI) when daylighting controls were assumed. Energy use increased substantially when an additional interior shade was used for glare control.


Energy and Buildings



Year of Publication



Research Areas

Related Files