As designers of the built environment, it is our social and professional responsibility to play our part in reducing the carbon footprints of buildings through our designs. At Veil, our goal is to integrate shades into building systems to create a new category of energy reduction and savings that have been ignored in buildings for decades.
Large, open curtain walls continue to become a more prominent part of a building's overall façade. As the tie between the building occupant and the outside world - while beautiful - glazing represents the key weakness in a façade's energy use. Veil aims to make the roller shade an integrated part of the façade design and calculation.
All too often architects and engineers are too overloaded to focus on and coordinate the details of a thoroughly thought-out shading system. Modern shading systems require an engineered solution to bridge the gap between design architects and MEP engineers; Veil is your bridge.
These examples just scratch the surface of the potential of a properly designed, integrated, and constructed shading system. Our team includes professional engineers passionate about helping you sort through energy analysis and sustainable design strategies.
world energy use targets
Glasgow Climate Summit Pact - Conference of Parties #26 - COP26
In 2021, the world saw the gathering for the 26th Conference of Parties in Glasgow. The consensus of COP26 is that past meeting goals are too conservative and financing for green technologies targeting reduced carbon emissions must be increased, urging the doubling of funding over 2019 levels. The meeting concluded with the aim of reducing the goal of limiting global temperature rise from the previously agreed upon 2 °C - in relation to pre-industrial levels - to a more aggressive 1.5 °C. To accomplish these goals the Pact looks to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 (vs. 2010 numbers) and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Historically the Pact has requested that developed nations provide substantial funding for developing nations to help in their transition from dated technologies and fuel sources, however with these accelerated goals comes a call for increased funding. Developed nations are being asked to provide $100 billion annually per year through 2025 - increasing thereafter. Even more impressive is the realignment of $130 trillion of capital - through banking and investment firms - is scheduled to be reallocated towards green/sustainable technologies (note this is the total assets under management for these firms, not an explicit commitment of funds). With such a revolutionary amount of funding and the international sharing of green building technologies, now is the time for building owners, general contractors, and A+E design firms to begin truly applying integrated and energy-conscious systems to their buildings.
With the ever-increasing window-to-wall ratios of modern designs, motorized roller shade systems present themselves as a key player in the reduction of energy use of buildings. A standout trait of the roller shade is that it is not an experimental or costly product, roller shades are trusted, proven devices that specifically target solar heat gain at windows. With the proper application of control sequences, roller shades can predictably dramatically reduce energy loss through windows. Veil is your ally in understanding, quantifying, and applying these energy savings on a per-building or programmatic level.
Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment - The Commitment
Globally buildings account for 36% of total energy consumption, expecting to double by 2060. 2021 saw 44 new signatories (156 total) join the World Green Building Council's Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, including key companies such as Aurp, Perkins + Will, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Overseen in the United States by USGBC, The Commitment closely follows some of the goals outlined at COP26 - yet specifically focuses on buildings - including the halving of building emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero performance on all participating firms' designs by 2050. Echoing the paragraphs above, roller shade systems present an opportunity to decrease building energy consumption with a proven and robust system that is leagues more cost effective than complex dual pane / active facades or electrochromic glass. Our team at Veil is well versed in numerous building systems and can help design teams and owners alike work through system comparisons at the conceptual level and help set concrete energy performance goals.
Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program - EECGB
As part of the Build Back Better initiative, passed by the House of Representatives in November 2021, $500 million dollars of additional funding will be provided to the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program (EECGB) as well as $500 million of additional funding being slated for the DOE State Energy Program (SEP).
Previously only funded once in 2009, the recent funding for the EECGC specifically allocates funds for energy audits and improved performance through retrofit technologies in existing commercial in residential buildings while also helping cities advance their building energy codes to more modern and advanced standards. Veil can help city code officials outline several "low hanging fruit" of the facade to help understand where to effectively spend this money on improving existing building performance, specifically targeting - and enhancing - aging windows in buildings.
The Build Back Better initiative is currently under revision in the Senate.
Weatherization Assistance Program
Also, as part of the Build Back Better initiative, $3.5 billion dollars of additional funding is being slated for the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program (read more here). The WAP program works to provide funding at the state & municipality level to deliver energy improvement upgrades to lower income households, and historically returns $2.78 in energy savings for every $1.00 spent. 2020 saw average grants of $7,700 issued per home and typically includes the addition of insulation, weather stripping, and HVAC upgrades. As part of the 2021 revision a new general guide (image below) includes the inclusion of building shell measures specifically relating to the energy improvement of windows, namely:
Installation of window solar screens
Installation of motor controls
As an expert in roller shade system design and control, Veil can help local WAP contractors and homeowners alike implement budget-conscious solutions specifically targeting window assembly (window + air gap + roller shade fabric selection + control sequencing) energy improvement. Reach out to our team to discuss manual or motorized options and hear what our thermally efficient fabric selections can bring to your projects.
Weatherization Assistance Program Summary
Source: Department of Energy
building sustainability performance
LEED Accreditation with Roller Shades
The vast majority of projects pursuing LEED accreditation simply request a "green" or recyclable fabric, ignoring the fabric performance - and more importantly - the engineered control performance of the system. True reduction in energy use comes from the proper application and integration of shading technologies while factoring shade fabric performance into an energy model, LEED points are available through the shading system through several key categories:
LEED BD+C Healthcare - Indoor Environmental Quality - Interior Lighting - 1 Point:
Per USGBC, the intent of this credit is to promote occupants' productivity, comfort, and well-being by providing high-quality lighting. Relating to roller shades, this credit is earned by providing window shade control that is readily accessible from the patient's bed.
Pillow speakers present a notoriously difficult point of coordination as it not only requires cross-discipline coordination through the design team - architectural and electrical engineering consultants - but also cross-trade construction coordination - electrical subcontractor, low voltage subcontractor, shading subcontractor, and pillow speaker manufacturer. With this many parties involved, complete planning and understanding of all these systems is critical. Veil has delivered numerous integrated shading control projects; we are your partner for LEED credit pursuance.
LEED BD+C New Construction - Indoor Environmental Quality - Energy and Atmosphere - 1 to 6 Points:
Per USGBC, the intent of this credit is to achieve increasing levels of energy performance. Focusing specifically on Option 3: Systems Optimization, projects must improve beyond ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016, and one of the least understood - yet easily recognized - points considers the improvement of building envelope performance. The key factor to consider is that the 50% solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) now includes the window shade factors. Veil works with one of the world's leading fabric manufacturer - Mermet - to provide complex glazing reports that show combined facade + shade thermal performance. An example of one of our team's recent projects (shown below) uses the common & robust Mermet E-Screen fabric (3% white/white fabric) and shows a 60% percent improvement in SHGC performance when factoring in the fabric. Thermal-specific fabrics are also available to see even more pronounced SHGC reduction.
With licensed mechanical engineers on staff, Veil is your resource for navigating the creation, interpretation, and implementation of shading fabric performance into energy models, control sequences, and the final integrated shading system.
WELL Accreditation with Roller Shades
WELL includes Features that provide points for shading solutions implemented on projects – WELL v1 Feature No. 60 Automated Shading and Dimming Controls Part 1: Automated Sunlight Control (Link) or WELL v2 Feature L05 Daylight Design Strategies Part 2 Integrate Solar Shading (Link) are routinely overlooked Features that rewards design teams and owners for implementing automatic shading control systems with the explicit intent to reduce glare at users' workstations. With nearly every motorized shade in modern building construction being driven by an intelligent motor, the cost to add or tailor control logic to these shades is minimal, especially compared to the cost of the overall shading system.
Like the cross-discipline requirements of the design & construction of roller shade system infrastructure, verification of WELL feature No. 60 is also the responsibility of a project's MEP engineer. With the traditional approach of roller shades being fully designed and specified by the architect and interior designer (Division 12), engineers routinely are left in the dark about the details, requirements, and control methodologies of the final installed system. With the complete design-build capabilities of Veil and its contracting partners, and our licensed engineers on staff, we are a resource for all parties in the AEC industry to properly pursue - and capitalize on - WELL accreditations.
HVAC Peak Load Reduction with Roller Shades
The day-to-day energy savings of a solar tracking roller shade system are realized on a consistent basis - discussed in the LEED Accreditation section above - but the consensus is that these energy savings can be difficult to understand as they require intricate modeling of solar simulations overlaid with user overrides. Consistently overlooked, however, are the initial HVAC peak load reductions that can be realized through specifically modifying the shade control sequences to target the peak load times shown from the mechanical engineer's HVAC load analysis. Even a conservative approach (e.g. factoring in 25% of the potential total peak load reductions) can help right size the building mechanical system and reduce initial capital costs to the owner. These initial mechanical system savings alone can more than cover the cost of the building roller shades.
The most critical part of this discussion is understanding the liability that the mechanical engineer takes on when reducing the size of their system based on other trades (including the shading system). The shading consultant is critical in this situation as there must be a guarantee of shading performance, shading performance that Veil can help the entire design team navigate this discussion and avoid the potential risk of the shading system being value engineered (VE) out of the design by understanding the cross-discipline implications of the shading system. As mentioned earlier, our professional engineers on staff have worked previously as designers and specifiers of mechanical systems and know first-hand how to navigate these discussions and potential risks.
Complex Glazing Report Example
sustainable design for owners
campus/company roller shade design standards
Standardization of roller shade systems is a regularly underdeveloped segment of Campus or Company building design standards. A partnership with Veil will help establish detailed standards for multiple aspects of modern roller shade systems – defining the control intents and integrations on all projects across campus environments. Veil can write standardized specifications that help reduce design requirements and risks for subpar system installation all while managing system costs by eliminating costly system options often pushed by (e.g. manufacturers routinely push light block channels on all shades, even where they are not needed). Additionally, the ability for an owner’s design architects to plan for scalable shading systems, tailored for multi-year or multi-phased renovations is missing from every project our team has encountered.
Furthermore, architectural packages traditionally only specify one fabric across entire buildings, where Veil comes armed with multi-faceted solutions for fabric selections – tailored on space use, thermal performance requirements, glare control requirements and façade orientation.
Custom woven fabrics incorporating campus colors or design motifs are also a tool Veil can bring to bear on these types of projects. Don’t let customization stop there, Veil routinely helps owners navigate roller shade printing, show your logo & branding off!
prototypical roller shade design
For owners who are building prototypical designs – think the development of numerous near-identical bank branches – roller shades present a perfect option to create a nation-wide design standard to offload regional design architects and simplify the design and construction process. Below is an example of a conceptual study that one of Veil’s engineers completed for a large commercial client that is building hundreds of uniform projects. Currently these projects utilize intelligent roller shade motors operating without control sequencing, simply operating from basic wall switches, the study below shows what the application of control logic to the roller shades (i.e. automation) can bring to the buildings including HVAC energy use reduction, HVAC peak load sizing reduction (HVAC unit, ductwork, etc.), and glare control.
Integrated HVAC System Reduction Example
take a peek behind the shade
Our systems track building mechanical plant loading to react and reduce energy usage on the hottest - or coldest - days of the year. We write all of our own control sequences and tailor a shading system to each individual user's needs.
The control of daylight is the end goal of nearly every shading system. Lead by an award-winning lighting designer, we can seamlessly integrate our shading systems with a building's lighting control network to save energy and ensure proper performance/control.
Not only is fabric selection key to making a building's shades blend into the exterior façade, but it is one of the most critical components in energy savings in a shading system. Special fabrics let us reject heat in warm climates or retain heat in cold climates.
With complex solar algorithms our shades actually track the sun. This allows us to create systems that prevent direct solar heat gain in the summer months but allow the sun in when extra heat is needed in the winter.
We view shading systems as an as integral part of a building's façade calculation as the glass itself. We are able to provide a Complete Façade Report where we can clearly communicate the thermal performance of a façade assembly that holistically combines the glazing, air gaps, and shade system into a single usable number.