Perspective of Aerogel Glazings in Energy Efficient Buildings
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonBuilding and Environment. 2016, 95 405-413. 10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.10.001
The application perspective of aerogel glazings in energy efficient buildings has been discussed by evaluating their energy efficiency, process economics, and environmental impact. For such a purpose, prototype aerogel glazing units have been assembled by incorporating aerogel granules into the air cavity of corresponding double glazing units, which enables an experimental investigation on their physical properties and a subsequent numerical simulation on their energy performance. The results show that, compared to the double glazing counterparts, aerogel glazings can contribute to about 21% reduction in energy consumptions related to heating, cooling, and lighting; payback time calculations indicate that the return on investment of aerogel glazing is about 4.4 years in a cold climate (Oslo, Norway); moreover, the physical properties and energy performance of aerogel glazings can be controlled by modifying the employed aerogel granules, thus highlighting their potential over other glazing technologies for window retrofitting towards energy efficient buildings. The results also show that aerogel glazings may have a large environmental impact related to the use of silica aerogels with high embodied energies and potential health, safety and environment hazards, indicating the importance of developing guidelines to regulate the use of aerogel glazings.