Reducing Residential Cooling Requirements Through the Use of Electrochromic Windows

TitleReducing Residential Cooling Requirements Through the Use of Electrochromic Windows
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsRobert Sullivan, Michael D. Rubin, Stephen E. Selkowitz
Conference NameThermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Buildings VI Conference Proceedings
Date Published12/1995
Conference LocationClearwater Beach, FL
Call NumberLBL-37211

This paper presents the results of a study investigating the energy performance of electrochromic windows in a prototypical residential building under a variety of state switching control strategies. We used the DOE-2.1E energy simulation program to analyze the annual cooling energy and peak demand as a function of glazing type, size, and electrochromic control strategy. A single-story ranch-style home located in the cooling-dominated locations of Miami, FL and Phoenix, AZ was simulated. Electrochromic control strategies analyzed were based on incident total solar radiation, space cooling load, and outside air temperature. Our results show that an electrochromic material with a high reflectance in the colored state provides the best performance for all control strategies. On the other hand, electrochromic switching using space cooling load provides the best performance for all the electrochrornic materials. The performance of the incident total solar radiation control strategy varies as a function of the values of solar radiation which trigger the bleached and colored states of the electrochromic (setpoint range); i.e., required cooling decreases as the setpoint range decreases; also, performance differences among electrochromics increases. The setpoint range of outside air temperature control of electrochromics must relate to the ambient weather conditions prevalent in a particular location. If the setpoint range is too large, electrochromic cooling performance is very poor. Electrochromics compare favorably to conventional low-E clear glazings that have high solar heat gain coefficients that are used with overhangs. However, low-E tinted glazings with low solar heat gain coefficients can outperform certain electrochromics. Overhangs should be considered as a design option for electrochromics whose state properties do not change significantly between bleached and colored states.

LBNL Report Number