Evaluation of the Energy Performance of Glazing Systems and Fenestration Retrofit Solutions

Open Access
Ariosto, Timothy M
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 22, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Ali M Memari, Thesis Advisor
  • fenestration
  • energy efficiency
  • building retrofit measures
The 2011 Building Energy Databook (DOE, 2011) reported that buildings use approximately 40% of the nation’s total energy use. Residential buildings use 54% of this energy while commercial buildings use 46%. By improving the performance of building envelope components, building owners can substantially reduce their energy use. Since fenestration systems are thermally the weakest link in the building envelope, they are a logical place to seek improvements. Building owners, therefore, have two primary methods of reducing energy use. The first is by replacing inefficient single glazed window units with their newer, energy efficient counterparts. The second is to utilize window retrofit solutions, such as blinds, shutters, and curtains, in order to improve the performance of their existing systems. This thesis describes two studies conducted with the goal of aiding residential and small-scale-commercial building owners select appropriate glazing systems and window retrofit solutions. The first study involved a parametric analysis of the energy performance of 16 high performance glazing systems for residential and small-scale commercial buildings in 5 different climates. The second study involved a parametric study of the effect of different retrofit system attributes (e.g. material type, geometry, installation methods) on the performance indices (i.e. U-value and SHGC) of those systems. The data obtained from these two studies was used to create a simple set of guidelines the layman can use to properly select window systems.