New Study Aims to Reduce Solar Glare and Reflections On Glass Buildings

  Building applications

While highly reflective glass efficiently blocks solar heat gain, it causes a significant impact on the neighboring environment due to exterior reflections. To calculate a building design’s potential solar reflectivity, CDC also developed computer modeling software using Computational Fluid Dynamics that shows not only the location of the reflected light, but also its intensity

New Study Aims to Reduce Solar Glare and Reflections On Glass Buildings
In a built environment where space is at a premium and developers fight for shallower curtain-wall systems to increase leasable square footage, skyscrapers are replacing many tall buildings. These glass and metal-clad skyscrapers, combined with narrow streets and densely populated areas, can potentially create hazardous reflectivity issues for neighboring buildings and passing traffic. Most building codes do not explicitly limit solar reflectivity in the architectural design criteria; however, performing a solar reflectivity study in the initial design stages can help prevent reflectivity and exterior glare problems. Examples of recent problematic designs include the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, where curved metal panels reflected intense solar radiation onto an adjacent building façade. Correcting the problem required a change in the surface finish. Another example is the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas, which was reported in local newspapers to magnify and reflect the sun’s rays onto an area of the pool at temperatures hot enough to melt plastic drink cups. This “death ray” was due to intense solar reflections from the hotel’s concave curtain-wall geometry.

In Dallas, the 42-story Museum Tower is reflecting so much light into the neighboring Nasher Sculpture Center that it is threatening artworks in the galleries, burning the plants in the center’s garden and blinding visitors with its glare, according to the New York Times. The center’s bespoke skylights were desig...

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