Last Update: November 17, 2010
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Fenestration Technologies

Fenestration technologies refer to components and systems, such as frames, glazing, and shading systems that make up the fenestration systems for building spaces. A large variety of technologies is available to meet design objectives of daylighting strategies.

Frames do not have a significant effect on luminous performance. However, they affect heat transfer and in turn heating and cooling loads, as well as many other performance aspects, such as aesthetic appeal, sustainability, economics, etc. They also affect comfort and maintenance by controlling leakage, condensation, structural strength as well as natural ventilation through different opening schemes (Figure 1). For more information on window frames please see the DOEs Efficient Windows Collaborative.

Window Frame Designs
Fenestration Technologies Figure 1. Operable window frame designs. Source:  (Permission Pending)
+ Click image to enlarge.

From a lighting point of view, the color and reflectance of the frames is most important. High reflectance, diffuse finishes are best for lowering luminance ratio between the frame and bright exteriors seen through the glazings.

A very large number of glazing technologies are available today that supports a variety of objectives in terms of daylight penetration in interior spaces, affecting not only intensity but altering direction as well. Finally, an even larger number of shading systems are available for many different orientations. Shading elements can play a dual role as reflectors that also redirect incoming daylight in desired directions into architectural spaces.

Fenestration Properties

Fenestration layers and systems have specific solar, optical, and thermal properties, and metrics exist to quantify their luminous, solar, and thermal insulating values.
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Glazing Systems
The term glazing refers to combinations of glass, plastic, and coating layers that make up the area of the fenestration that transmits daylighting into the space. Glazing systems serve as weather barriers and daylight filters.
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Shading Systems
Shading systems are exterior and/or interior components of fenestration systems aiming primarily at blocking direct solar radiation from entering building interiors. Blocking direct solar radiation aims at reducing glare and solar heat gain.
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