Indian building sector has realized the importance of energy efficiency but it is yet to be effectively integrated in the construction industry. Smart, dynamic shading devices to keep rooms cool in climate zones and latitudes of India and low energy technologies for air-conditioning can help progress towards energy efficiency in the country, a large part of which experiences high-temperature conditions. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in partnership with the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India has developed novel external shading solution for windows in residential and commercial buildings under the project Habitat Model for Efficiency and Comfort. The shading system named as “ShadeSmart” has been developed as an innovative and cost-effective solution for achieving indoor comfort with reduced electricity consumption in air conditioning and lighting.
External shading devices are not common in modern buildings, which are mostly glazed or buildings with curtain walls. They are usually permanent structures, posing challenges such as maintenance, obstruction of views, architecturally not meeting the aspirations of the client, and so on. In contrast, ShadeSmart changes its configuration depending upon the Sun’s position. For example, when the Sun is in the East direction, East façade windows will be shaded, once the Sun is in South orientation during noon ShadeSmart configuration on East changes to provide unobstructed external views and glare-free daylight.
The criterion of design for residential and commercial buildings substantially differs due to differences in activity and occupancy patterns, each design derived through a unique methodology ensuring highest benchmarks of comfort and energy efficiency. The performance of each of these designs have been tested through software simulation as well as real-time field measurements at testbeds. ShadeSmart is being commercialized, and efforts are being made to make ShadeSmart more affordable than air conditioning in small thermal zones next to external windows, especially in the residential sector. This technology will help to bring inside the buildings more daylight with less heat, thus making occupants comfortable and also more productive and healthy.