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Glass is fundamental in the design of any building. It shapes our spaces, the natural light it creates shapes our moods and the view provides a connection to the outside world beyond. These needs don’t go away just because we need to be more energy efficient.

The codes that address window-to-wall ratios are still leaving room for designers to exceed the recommended 40 percent ratio, as long as they can cut down energy consumption on performance-based approach. To overcome energy penalty of all-glass envelope, new technologies such as double-skin facades emerged.


Double-skin facades are a compelling architectural solution, offering a host of energy-efficient benefits. Heated air from the double-facade cavity rises up to the top of the solar chimney creating free heating for the building in winter. In the summer, the chimney pulls hot air from the facade cavity, via convention, where it is then released through the rooftop. Motorized blinds are installed in the cavity, tied into weather-integrated data automation system. Cooling in the summer, heating in the winter and ventilating in the spring and fall anticipate for 50% less energy consumption. High level of natural ventilation is being used 40% of the time even in Canada’s extreme climate.

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