Striking the design balance

Good design is about striking a balance between cost and performance, whilst ensuring compliance standards are met. Successfully achieving this relies on having clearly defined goals and access to the right tools and expertise. 
 
Shading analysis example 
 
A client recently approached Northrop with a design dilemma; how to optimise a school’s fa├žade performance. The capital costs needed to be considered whilst still meeting the Department of Education’s compliance standards for energy, daylight and glare mitigation controls. 
 
Utilising data from the design documentation, the Northrop team were able to analysis the shading options using Shade.in, a tool developed by Northrop’s Matheus Santos. The team were able to dynamically change and compare the performance of various types of external shading devices, and draw a comparative balance between the peak periods of glare reduction (performance) and the extent of shading (cost) required. 
Can't see this graph clearly? Click here for a larger version.
 
The results 
 
Multiple studies from different directions were undertaken during the project. As an example, this graph illustrates how much sunlight was admitted into a west-facing window over the course of three key dates in the calendar year - coldest day, hottest day and at equinox. Logically, less sunlight equals less glare. 
 
Originally, the client was considering the vertical shading option in orange, but the other options had flatter curves indicating that they were much better overall. While the green or red options had promise, it was determined that the client could save on materials (cost efficient) and reduce glare all year round (performance) with the blue option – Northrop‘s recommendation. 
 
As designers, consultants and engineers, we’re often called upon to weigh up a myriad of design elements like cost, performance, practicality and compliance. We work closely with our clients to understand their goals and priorities to deliver the best possible outcome. 
Contributor(s)
Graduate Sustainability Consultant
Sustainability Architect
Author(s): 
Brian Park Matheus Tonelli Santos

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