The modern tendency for office buildings is large, open rooms with broad windows. This gives a fantastic impression of space and light, very different from older buildings in which you might have worked – which can feel more cramped and dark. However, the light open-plan office can come at the expense of comfort and the environment. Air circulation can be bad, and the enormous windows mean that the building can heat up fast – necessitating air conditioning in the summer – or be cold in the winter, with higher heating bills. A brise soleil will reduce direct sunlight (the chief cause of overheating) and the glare that can be uncomfortable and, depending on your line of work, destructive to materials. glass louvres can likewise reduce unwanted sunlight, are fitted to existing windows, and can be used in conjunction with solar PV generation. They can be adjusted. External louvres are another option, attached to brickwork and coming in a wide range of designs.
The advantages of these systems are several. Firstly, they reduce energy bills. Excess sunlight in the summer requires air conditioning to be installed if the building is to be at an acceptable temperature. Louvres cut out the high-angle and fierce summer or midday sun, whilst allowing in the heat and light at cooler times. This is especially the case if motorised louvres are used. That means you get the benefits in both summer and winter – reducing the need for heating.
Secondly, staff are more comfortable without the extremes of temperature, dryness and glare – meaning that they are more productive, too. Additionally, some materials are sensitive to bright sunlight. Paper can become brittle and inks fade; art galleries and design companies need to be particularly aware of this. However, at the same time these premises need to be airy and well lit to make the most of the contents – a hard balance to achieve.
Lastly, glass louvres or a brise soleil can be an attractive addition to a building, or even an aspect of its innate look if they are included at the design stage. External louvres can be very attractive if installed properly and in the correct style. These three reasons – energy efficiency, comfort and appearance – should give every business reason to consider investigating these means of controlling the amount of sunlight and heat that enter their room. They come in a huge range of designs, suitable for almost any kind of building.
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