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Sudhakar Windows and Doors

Design Approach for Façades & Fenestrations

By: Dr. R. Ramesh, Archinova

By taking a comprehensive and site-specific approach that considers climate, geography, and local conditions, architects/façade designers can create façades and fenestrations that are not only visually appealing but also functional and sustainable in their respective environments.


Climate Analysis: Understand the local climate, including temperature ranges, humidity levels, wind patterns, and precipitation. This information will guide decisions on insulation, shading, and ventilation.
Orientation and Solar Exposure: Consider the building’s orientation in relation to the sun. Proper placement of fenestrations can maximize or minimize solar heat gain, depending on the climate. For example, in cold climates, south-facing windows can help capture solar heat, while in hot climates, proper shading is crucial.

Design Approach for Façades

Material Selection: Choose materials that can withstand specific environmental conditions. For example, in coastal areas, materials should be resistant to salt corrosion, while in areas with heavy rainfall, water-resistant materials are essential.

Insulation: Prioritize effective insulation to regulate internal temperatures. This is crucial in both hot and cold climates. Different insulation materials and techniques may be required based on the climate.

Ventilation and Airflow: Consider natural ventilation strategies to enhance indoor air quality and reduce the reliance on mechanical systems. This is particularly important in humid climates. Operable windows, louvres, or other ventilation systems can be incorporated.

Shading Devices: Implement shading devices such as overhangs, awnings, or blinds to control the amount of sunlight entering the building. Adjustable shading solutions allow for flexibility based on the season and time of day.

Vernacular Architecture: Respect and incorporate elements of the local architectural style. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also ensures that the design is culturally and contextually relevant.

Energy Efficiency: Integrate energy-efficient technologies, such as low- emissivity glass, double-glazed windows, and reflective coatings, to minimize energy consumption for heating and cooling.

Adaptability: Design façades that can adapt to changing conditions. For example, consider the ability to close off or open certain areas of the building depending on the season or weather conditions.

Sustainability: Consider the life cycle of materials & their environmental impact.

Local Regulations and Codes: Familiarize yourself with local building codes and regulations. Compliance with these standards is essential for safety and functionality.



Designing big glass windows sustainably is a challenge, but it can be achieved by incorporating various strategies that focus on energy efficiency, environmental impact, and occupant comfort. Here are some considerations for designing large glass windows more sustainably:

High-Performance Glass: Choose a high-performance glass with low- emissivity (Low-E) coatings to minimize heat transfer. This helps in maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and reduces the reliance on heating and cooling systems.

Double or Triple Glazing: opt for double or triple glazing to enhance insulation. Multiple layers of glass with inert gas between them provide better thermal performance, reducing energy consumption.

Thermal Breaks: Incorporate windows with thermal breaks in the frame. This helps prevent heat from transferring through the frame, improving overall energy efficiency.

Solar Control: Use glass with solar control coatings or tinting to mitigate the impact of direct sunlight. This reduces the need for excessive cooling during hot periods.


Effective shading devises on façades
Effective shading devises on façades

Improving the energy performance of a building through proper façade and fenestration designs is crucial for achieving energy efficiency and sustainability. Here are key strategies to enhance energy performance in this context: Optimize Window-to-Wall Ratio: Balance the amount of glazing with solid walls to achieve an optimal window-to-wall ratio. This helps in maximizing natural light without compromising thermal performance.

Select High-Performance Glazing: Choose energy-efficient glass with low-E coatings, double or triple glazing, and other advanced technologies to minimize heat transfer. This improves insulation and reduces the need for heating or cooling.

Consider Thermally Broken Frames: Use window frames with thermal breaks to prevent thermal bridging. This reduces heat transfer through the frame, contributing to overall energy efficiency.

Implement Dynamic Shading Systems: Install shading devices, such as external louvres or blinds, that can dynamically adjust based on sunlight conditions. This helps control glare and solar heat gain, enhancing comfort and reducing the load on HVAC systems.

Utilize Natural Ventilation: Incorporate operable windows and ventilation strategies to encourage natural airflow. This reduces the reliance on mechanical ventilation systems and improves indoor air quality.

Design for Passive Solar Gain: Consider the building’s orientation and incorporate passive solar design principles. Optimize window placement to capture solar heat in colder months while minimizing direct sunlight during warmer periods.


Sustainable façade design
Sustainable façade design

Thermal Mass Integration: Use thermal mass materials in the building envelope, such as concrete or masonry, to absorb and store heat. This can help regulate indoor temperatures and reduce the need for mechanical heating or cooling.


Employ High-Reflectivity Materials: Choose materials with high solar reflectance for exterior surfaces, especially for roofs and walls. High-reflectivity materials can reduce heat absorption and lower cooling loads.

Air Sealing and Insulation: Ensure a well-sealed building envelope to minimize air leakage. Adequate insulation in walls, roofs, and floors is essential to prevent heat loss or gain.

Smart Building Automation: Implement building automation systems i.e. IBMS to control and optimize energy usage. This includes automated shading, lighting controls, and HVAC systems that respond to occupancy and environmental conditions.

Green Roofs and Cool Roofs: Consider green roofs with vegetation or cool roofs with reflective materials to reduce heat absorption and lower cooling demands. Energy-Efficient Lighting: Integrate energy-efficient lighting systems that work in tandem with natural light. This reduces the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. (i.e. daylight factor)

Local Climate Considerations: Tailor façade and fenestration designs based on the specific climatic conditions of the region. I.e. Average temperature for the last decade can be taken from the IMD site.

By implementing these strategies, we can significantly improve the energy performance of buildings, leading to reduced energy consumption, lower operational costs, and a more sustainable


Achieving thermal comfort through natural ventilation and optimizing natural light in a space can be accomplished through a combination of passive and active design strategies. Here are both passive and active approaches to ensure thermal comfort:

Passive Strategies:

Smart lighting of façades
Smart lighting of façades

Building Orientation: Properly orient the building to take advantage of natural sunlight. Maximize south-facing windows in colder climates for passive solar heating, while minimizing east and west exposures to reduce heat gain. (I.e. Latitude/longitude, MSL of the place can be used on the basic data)

Daylighting Design: Design spaces with ample access to natural daylight. Place windows strategically to distribute light evenly throughout the space, reducing the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours.

Shading Devices: Implement external shading devices, such as overhangs, awnings, or louvres, to control direct sunlight and prevent excessive heat gain. Adjust the design based on the building’s orientation and the sun’s path.

Natural Ventilation: Design spaces to facilitate natural ventilation by incorporating operable windows, vents, and cross-ventilation paths. Utilize prevailing winds and create openings to allow the flow of fresh air through the building.

Thermal Mass: Integrate thermal mass materials, such as concrete or stone, into the building envelope. These materials absorb and store heat, moderating temperature fluctuations and enhancing thermal comfort.

Green Roofs: Implement green roofs to provide insulation and absorb heat, reducing both heat gain and loss. Green roofs also contribute to a more comfortable microclimate.

Cool Roofs: Use reflective roofing materials to minimize heat absorption and reduce the urban heat island effect. Cool roofs can help maintain lower temperatures within the building.

High-Performance Glazing: Select energy-efficient glazing with low-E coatings and appropriate shading properties to control solar heat gain and loss.


Future façades - Smart automation of façade
Future façades – Smart automation of façade

Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery: Use mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery to bring in fresh air while minimizing heat loss in colder climates. This enhances indoor air quality while maintaining energy efficiency.

Automated Shading Systems: Implement automated shading systems that adjust based on the position of the sun and the intensity of natural light. This helps optimize daylighting while minimizing glare and heat gain.

Smart Lighting Controls: Integrate smart lighting controls that adjust artificial lighting levels based on available natural light. This ensures optimal lighting conditions while minimizing energy consumption (LCS).

Ventilation Zoning: Create ventilation zones within a building to allow for the targeted adjustment of airflow based on occupancy and thermal comfort requirements.

Thermal Comfort Monitoring: Use sensors and monitoring systems to assess indoor thermal conditions. This information can be used to adjust ventilation rates, shading devices, and other parameters to maintain comfort.

Solar Tracking Systems: Explore solar tracking systems that adjust the orientation of solar panels, windows, or shading devices throughout the day to optimize exposure to sunlight.

Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems: Integrate energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that complement natural ventilation efforts. Use variable-speed systems and energy recovery ventilators.

Occupancy Sensors: Install occupancy sensors to control lighting and ventilation based on the number of occupants in a space. This prevents unnecessary energy consumption in unoccupied areas.

By combining passive and active design strategies, we can create spaces that prioritize thermal comfort, energy efficiency, and a connection to the natural environment. Tailoring these strategies to the specific characteristics of the site and climate enhances their effectiveness.


Several advanced façade and fenestration technologies have been developed to enhance building performance, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort, keeping in mind that innovations in this field are ongoing, and new technologies have emerged. Here are some cutting-edge façade and fenestration technologies:

Dynamic Glass: Electrochromic Glass: This glass can change its tint dynamically in response to electrical voltage, allowing for on-demand control of light and heat entering a building. It helps optimize natural light while managing glare and heat gain.


  • Photochromic Windows: These windows automatically adjust their tint based on sunlight intensity, reducing the need for manual shading or blinds.
  • Thermochromic Windows: Similar to photochromic windows, these change tint based on temperature, optimizing heat and light control.
  • Vacuum Insulated Glass (VIG): VIG technology uses a vacuum between two glass panes, significantly improving insulation compared to traditional double-glazed windows. This enhances thermal performance and reduces energy consumption.
  • Aerogel Insulation: Aerogels, known for their low thermal conductivity, are being used as insulation in fenestration systems. These lightweight materials provide excellent insulation properties, reducing heat transfer through windows.
  • BIPV (Building-Integrated Photovoltaics): Integrating solar cells into building façades and windows allows them to generate electricity while serving as functional building components. BIPV systems can be transparent or semi- transparent, providing shading and energy generation.
  • Kinetic Facades: Kinetic façades feature movable components that respond to environmental conditions. These elements can adjust to optimize natural light, shade, and ventilation dynamically.
  • 3D-Printed Facades: Advanced manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing, enable the creation of complex and customized façade elements. This allows for unique designs and precise control over materials, reducing waste.
  • Nanotechnology Coatings: Nano- coatings applied to glass surfaces can provide self-cleaning properties, UV protection, and improved durability. These coatings contribute to the maintenance of a clean and efficient building envelope.
  • Smart Façade Systems: Integrated smart systems utilize sensors, actuators, and automation to optimize energy usage. These systems can adjust shading devices, ventilation, and lighting in response to changing environmental conditions.
  • Thermal Break Technologies: Advanced thermal break solutions in window and door frames help minimize heat transfer and improve overall energy efficiency. Materials such as reinforced polymers or composite materials are used to interrupt thermal conductivity.
  • Transparent Solar Cells: Transparent solar panels can be integrated into windows, allowing them to generate electricity without obstructing the view. These cells can capture sunlight while maintaining transparency.
  • Adaptive Facades: Adaptive façades use responsive materials or elements to adapt to changing environmental conditions. This may include panels that open or close based on temperature, sunlight, or other factors.

These technologies contribute to creating high-performance buildings that prioritize energy efficiency, sustainability, and occupant well-being. It’s important for architects, and developers to stay informed about the latest advancements in façade and fenestration technologies to implement solutions that align with their project goals.

3D-Printed and Robotic Construction


Predicting specific details about future facades in the 2070s is highly speculative, and it’s challenging to foresee the exact technological and design advancements that will occur. However, we can explore some potential trends and concepts that may shape the facades of buildings in the future:

  • Responsive and Adaptive Design: Future facades may feature advanced responsive and adaptive systems that dynamically adjust based on real- time environmental conditions. These systems could optimize natural light, ventilation, and energy usage for enhanced sustainability and occupant comfort.
  • Nanotechnology Integration: Nano- technology could play a significant role in façade materials, offering self-healing properties, improved insulation, and ad- vanced coatings for enhanced durability and performance.
  • Biological Facades: Innovations in bioengineering might lead to façades incorporating living organisms, such as algae or responsive plant-based systems, to contribute to energy production, air purification, and aesthetic variability.
  • Energy Harvesting Facades: Facades could serve as active energy-harvesting surfaces, integrating advanced photovoltaic technologies, piezoelectric materials, and other energy conversion systems to generate power from sunlight, wind, and vibrations.
  • Augmented Reality Integration: Façades might incorporate augmented reality (AR) technologies, allowing for interactive and dynamic displays. AR could be used for informational purposes, art installations, or adaptive shading based on user preferences.
  • Advanced Smart Materials: The development of smart materials with tuneable properties may revolutionize façade design. Materials that can change colour, transparency, or thermal conductivity in response to external stimuli could be employed for aesthetic and functional purposes.
  • Carbon Capture Facades: Facades may incorporate technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, contributing to carbon- neutral or even carbon-negative building designs.
  • Hyper-Efficient Insulation: Advances in insulation materials could result in hyper-efficient building envelopes, minimizing heat transfer and reducing the need for active heating or cooling systems.
  • 3D-Printed and Robotic Construction: The use of 3D printing and robotics in construction may lead to highly intricate and customized façade designs. This could enable architects to realize complex structures efficiently.
  • Transparent Solar Glass: Transparent solar cells integrated into glass panels may become a standard feature, allowing buildings to generate renewable energy while maintaining transparency.
  • Multi-Functional Facades: Facades could serve multiple functions beyond aesthetics and insulation, incorporating features like air purification, water collection, and urban farming spaces.
  • Carbon-Neutral Building Materials: The development of advanced, sustainable, and carbon-neutral building materials may become the norm, contributing to environmentally friendly construction practices.
  • Human-Centric Design: Future facades may prioritize human well-being by integrating biophilic design principles, ensuring access to natural light, views, and green spaces for improved mental and physical health.

It’s important to note that these speculations are based on current trends and emerging technologies, and the actual evolution of facades in the 2070s will depend on a myriad of factors including technological breakthroughs, societal needs, environmental considerations, and regulatory changes. The future of architecture and building design will likely be shaped by a combination of scientific innovation, sustainability imperatives, and the evolving needs and aspirations of society.

Dr. R. Ramesh, Archinova

Managing Director

Dr. R. Ramesh is the Managing Director of Archinova, a company that specializes in providing architectural and design services.

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