Electrochromic Glazing System for UW Health Sciences Education Building
In order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and to respond to the climate change emergency, it is necessary for University of Washington to invest in new building technologies that can reduce building energy consumption while at the same time improving the student experience and supporting the institutional mission of the University. Currently, the University is in the planning and design process for a new Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) located on NE Pacific St. on the South end of campus, which will serve students, faculty and staff for generations.
A relatively new technology, the electrochromic window (ECW) is being considered for a number of the teaching spaces. This technology aims to reduce energy consumption, increase visual and thermal comfort, and reduce maintenance over the life of the building. Like self-tinting prescription glasses, ECWs are an optical glazing (window) technology by which the visible and solar transmittance of a window can be controlled between a transparent state to a very darkened state thus providing a range of visible light transmittances (Tvis) and solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC) when modulated by a control system and sensors to adjust to climate conditions.
This proposal requests a total of $65,000 from CSF to fund three project components: (1) an initial feasibility and evaluation phase for two students to work with the UW Project Development Group and the Miller Hull Partnership (leading the design team) to assess the technology and evaluate its potential impacts ($6,000); (2) to fund a portion of the incremental cost (added cost beyond conventional windows) of installing the ECWs at the HSEB (approximately $45,000) ; and (3) student labor to provide education, outreach, and post occupancy evaluation and storytelling about the technology ($14,000). If, after the initial feasibility phase, the design team or the UW Project Development Group elects not to incorporate ECWs the balance of the funding will be returned to CSF.
Furthermore, the process of design and evaluation of ECWs and dynamic shading systems will be incorporated into a UW course (ARCH 535) offered in by a faculty member in the College of Built Environments during spring quarter during the duration of the project.
If funded, this project will contribute to UW campus sustainability by maximizing energy performance, and improving the classroom experience while showcasing new building envelope technology that sets new sustainability standards on campus.
This project will be entirely student-led, with guidance and collaboration from the HSEB design team (Miller Hull Partnership and PAE Engineering), the UW Project Development Group, and a faculty member in the Department of Architecture. The initial feasibility phase will be completed by two UW Department of Architecture, Master of Architecture students, Connor Beck and Ben-Hsin Dow. Both are currently employed at the UW Integrated Design Lab (UW IDL) working in the area of building performance and they will be offered on-going IDL computing and space resources to complete this work. This will include life cycle cost assessment of the technology from reduced energy consumption and potentially reduced cooling equipment sizing.
The project leads will seek out stakeholder students via the Department of Health Sciences Administration to get user feedback on the proposed technology. Due to the timeline of the project (expected completion in 2022) current students involved in the project may be required recruit future students to complete outreach, communications and awareness-building activities.
Visual displays and interactive media will be exhibited in indoor public spaces incorporating the data storage and trending capabilities of the ECW control system.
Education & Outreach:
Education & Outreach
The evaluation of and incorporation of a new technology for a future teaching facility offers a number of educational an outreach benefits. First, it will provide the opportunity to include UW students in the decision-making process inherent in evaluating a new technology for the Campus. This will provide hands-on engagement in life-cycle-cost assessment where critical issues of user experience, energy performance, and operations and maintenance are evaluated. The findings from this process will inform future projects at UW and will be incorporated in the outreach and education component. Once the project is constructed, students will have the experience of a new type of classroom experience using the dynamic glazing to improve their comfort and the classroom experience. This project will offer an opportunity to develop messaging and storytelling via visual displays and/or interactive media that is exhibited in indoor public spaces and shares energy-savings and other aspects of the design. Specific strategies for community engagement will be established in the initial phase of the project, depending on the interactive feedback capabilities of the specific ECW system.
Concurrent with the design process students in the College of Built Environments will have the opportunity to learn more about ECWs and the project development process for the HSEB in a course, ARCH 535: Daylighting Design taught by Associate Professor Christopher Meek, with assistance from Connor Beck and Ben-Hsin Dow, the students participating in the CSF-funded project.
- Energy Use
- Community Development
The ECWs will be designed with the intent of serving for the design life of the building enclosure. EC glazing is rated for at least a 25 years and will be covered with basic warranty guaranteed in the contract with the contractor. Though the system will require a control system and localized occupant control switching. Other than managing and maintaining a commercially available control system, we do not anticipate significant additional operation and maintenance cost.
In the unlikely event of a total system failure, the “failure mode” of the ECW system will revert to act as convention double pane, clear glass. This system would appear similar to standard glass in the rest of the building. If this happened, the installation of conventional blinds or shade would likely be required.
In order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and to respond to the climate change emergency, it is necessary for University of Washington to invest in new building technologies that can reduce building energy consumption while at the same time improving the student experience and supporting the institutional mission of the University. Buildings are responsible for over 40% of carbon emissions in the United States. Building heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) and lighting use well over 50% of Campus building energy. Electrochromic windows have the potential to reduce energy consumption in all of these areas and potentially reduce the cost and size of building mechanical systems when incorporated as part of an integrated design process.
ECWs are an optical glazing (window) technology by which the visible and solar transmittance of a window can be controlled between a transparent state to a very darkened state thus providing a range of visible light transmittances (Tvis) and solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC) when modulated by a control system and sensors to adjust to climate conditions. By dynamically responding to local climate and immediate solar conditions, as well as real-time internal conditions within a building, electrochromic windows control the amount of heat and light emerging a space, while reducing glare and improving access to views outside. EC glazing is made five layers of ceramic material coated onto a pane of glass. A small electrical current is sent through the ceramic coating which causes lithium ions to transfer the ceramic layers. The tint within the window pane is the result of this process. Reversing the direction of the polarity allows the window pane to clear. Window tint percentage can range anywhere between 0% and 99% for increased glare and heat control. The tint system may be occupant controlled or set to automation using a control system in which the system can be intelligently optimized to reduce heat and glare issues. The inclusion of ECWs can eliminate the requirement for mechanical building blinds or shades, facilitating glare control and space darkening for audio visual displays.
In a study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, ECWs have shown measured building cooling load reductions of 19-26% and lighting power savings of 48%-67% when combined with photo-responsive lighting controls. The saving potential varies by building type, use, and climate zone, due to variability in heating and cooling loads, solar exposure and glare control requirements. For this reason ECWs are frequently modulated by controls that adjust visible and solar transmittances by window or facade to reduce whole building energy consumption and maintain visual comfort.
More importantly, and number of studies, most notably by Lisa Heschong with the Heschong Mahone Group, have correlated access to daylight and views with significant improvements in student learning. A growing body of photo-biological research shows that occupants experience many positive physiological results when being exposed to natural daylight and to outdoor view. Naturally-lit environment has values of triggering positive responses within human’s endocrine system. Wellness benefits are range from mental clarity, visual acuity, or even regulation of body system for better sleep. Although traditional blinds or curtains also provide lighting autonomy to the occupants, typically the devices are regularly left closed for extended periods, which results in reduced access to daylight and view. The weather-responsive controlling mechanism and the flexible light transmittance of EC glazing exclude the concerns led by manual-control operation, and potentially reduce the cost of maintenance.
Explain how the impacts will be measured:
The primary impacts are to implement and demonstrate a new sustainability technology in a prominent student-focused building on Campus. Estimates show that EC glass reduce building energy consumption loads by about 20%. Maximizing natural light and minimizing heat and glare allows students and workers to function at a higher level with less fatigue and eye strain. Workers in buildings with optimized tint control reported a 56% decrease in drowsiness throughout the work day which leads to a more productive and attentive population of students.
The long-term scope of the project may require a post-occupancy questionnaire and will require data collection from the system to evaluate impacts and tell the story of the system as part of the demonstration. This would be done in coordination with the UW Office of Sustainability.
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:
|Cost per Item
|Incremental Capital Cost
|Student salaries (feasibility)
|Student salaries (edu/outreach)
|Estimated Completion Date