Free-Form, High Energy Performance, Transparent Envelope
This article examines, from the energy viewpoint, a new lightweight, slim, high energy efficient, light-transmitting envelope system, providing for seamless, free-form designs for use in architectural projects. The research was based on envelope components already existing on the market, especially components implemented with granular silica gel insulation, as this is the most effective translucent thermal insulation there is today. The tests run on these materials revealed that there is not one that has all the features required of the new envelope model, although some do have properties that could be exploited to generate this envelope, namely, the vacuum chamber of vacuum insulated panels (VIP), the monolithic aerogel used as insulation in some prototypes, reinforced polyester barriers. By combining these three design components — the high-performance thermal insulation of the vacuum chamber combined with monolithic silica gel insulation, the free-form design potential provided by materials like reinforced polyester and epoxy resins—, we have been able to define and test a new, variable geometry, energy-saving envelope system.
L. Alonso et al., "Free-Form, High Energy Performance, Transparent Envelope", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 168-170, pp. 1486-1490, 2011