Using architectural glazing systems to harness solar thermal potential for energy savings and indoor comfort

Nan Wang, Neda Ghaeili, Julian Wang, Yanxiao Feng, Enhe Zhang, Chenshun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The capacity of windows to transmit solar irradiance contributes significantly to indoor environments, which facilitates supplemental warmth courtesy of shortwave solar irradiance, impacting both human comfort and building energy dynamics. This study explores the impact of window glazing on indoor thermal comfort and building energy dynamics through shortwave solar irradiance. It presents a comprehensive analysis of 5,138 glazing systems and introduces a novel thermal effect index. This index was generated using a spectrally-resolved method to classify windows based on their capacity to transmit solar energy. The index divides the quantified thermal effects into 10 equally-sized ranges and assigns corresponding indices. In addition to recognizing the influence of specific solar spectral distributions on the thermal effects of glazings, this work also proposes a method for computing effective wavebands of spectral transmittance, allowing for the rapid evaluation of a window's thermal effects under diverse solar spectra. In essence, this study emphasizes the importance of the thermal effect in understanding solar energy utilization and determining implications for energy savings and enhanced indoor thermal comfort. By addressing the interplay between solar energy use and human comfort, this research offers valuable insights for future advanced envelope design and energy management strategies. With this knowledge, we will be better able to tailor advanced envelope products to meet both human needs and energy efficiency goals by harnessing solar energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119436
JournalRenewable Energy
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Effective waveband
  • Energy savings
  • Indoor comfort
  • Solar thermal effect
  • Spectrally-resolved method
  • Window properties


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