Space
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RESEARCH SUMMARY DETAIL

Problems of Transparent Facades in Singapore

Author's Title: Daylighting and Energy Performance of Post Millenium Condominiums in Singapore
Author(s) Name: Uma Maheswaran and Ang Guo Zi
Year of Publication: 2007
Search Related Keywords: Door, Window, Curtain Wall, Skylight, Glazing  Energy Efficiency  Mechanical Systems  Multi-Family Residence  Privacy  Sensory Responses 

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Design Issue
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This case study examined the trends and performance (daylight and energy consumption) of transparent facades in condominium design in Singapore.
  • In Singapore, glass facades have recently appeared frequently in condominium design. The result of this has been an increase in air conditioning use, which accounts for almost 80% of the energy used by such buildings.
  • In recent years, Singapore has observed a 50 percent increase in electricity usage in conjunction with a growing production of condominiums.
  • Environmental detriments of energy usage (e.g., global warming) have become better understood in recent years.
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Design Criteria
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Author Identified:
  • Be aware that fully-glazed facades are problematic for tropical climates; alternative designs that make use of natural ventilation and local materials should be considered.
  • Consider factors of condominium facade design that may increase energy efficiency including materials, orientation, area, time of exposure, and shading.
  • Be aware that light levels can vary between stories of a structure; therefore, the facade should be treated differently at different heights.

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Key Concepts
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  • Due to a recent economic boom, there has been increased demand for private housing in Singapore.
  • Foreign architects have designed many of the new glass facade condominiums in Singapore, failing to take into account the tropical climate and the social preferences and traditions of the country.
  • Glass facades caused a lack of privacy for residents as well as daylighting problems, such as glare, which resulted from high sun angles. As a result, residents relied heavily on the use of blinds to provide privacy and protection from the sun.
  • Glass facades placed large cooling loads on the building, and the increased use of central air conditioning led to higher energy use. The efficiency index of the building under consideration was 252.4 KWh/sq. m/year, much higher than the target value of 125 to 130 KWh/sq. m/year.
  • An overshadowing study determined that facades received consistent sunlight from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. An insolation study concluded that facades received very high levels of incident radiation. Consistent sunlight and high levels of incident radiation would likely result in uncomfortably high interior temperatures.
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Research Method
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  • A single condominium development was studied as a typical example of a glass facade structure in Singapore.
  • computer simulation tools were used to study the condominium development.
  • An energy analysis, overshadowing study, and sun path analysis were performed. The study also included an insolation study, which identified the total incident radiation.
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Limitations
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  • The author did not identify any limitations.
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Commentary
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The authors included images of condominiums and figures of data from the study. A historical analysis of glass façade condominiums was discussed.



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Adapted From
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Author(s): Uma Maheswaran and Ang Guo Zi
Article Title: Daylighting and Energy Performance of Post Millenium Condominiums in Singapore
Publisher: ArchNet
Publication: International Journal of Architectural Research
Publication Type: Refereed Journal
Date of Publication: 2007
ISSN: 1994-6961
Volume: 1
Issue: 1
Pages: 26-35