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Feature article


Optimising the heating and cooling needs of your building through ‘shadow management’ is the latest frontier in energy efficiency from Somfy. James Idle, sales engineer – commercial at Somfy spoke to AV to shed light on the topic.

Somfy’s James Idle is keen to encourage architects and designers to consider the company’s shadow management solutions as early as possible in the design process, and with good reason.

“As CBD office space increases in price, so do the expectations of the end user and building owner. Keeping up with the ever changing technologies being introduced can often feel like you are chasing shadows,” says Idle.

“…Unless of course you are talking solar shading control solutions. This has barely developed past the manually operated blind within commercial buildings for some time – the main reason being cost, supposedly.”

“Somfy has recently introduced its ‘Shadow Management’ solution to its animeo KNX and LON control ranges,” he confirms. “Shadow management provides a real time 3D model of your building and its surrounds, driven by real time climatic conditions, to maximise the performance of the building, whether you are managing artificial and natural light, providing maximum visual and thermal comfort conditions, or introducing external views to the end users.”

“In the process, the energy efficiency of the building is significantly improved due to maximum exposure to the effects of the sun: free heating, natural lighting.”

Idle emphasises the importance of introducing Somfy’s solutions at an early design stage to maximise the benefits of its innovative technology. “Using it as an afterthought as is often the case, or as the last item into the building, significantly hinders the benefits your building could receive in terms of the welfare of the end users and the building running costs.”

“At early design stage, Somfy can liaise with the HVAC and lighting industries to provide a complete building solution that works together to provide the best possible environment for people.”

“Automated solar shading solutions offer a building much more than they are given credit for, especially if the building is designed based upon their inclusion from the concept stages.”

“A wise man once said: ‘A smart building is only smart, if that building does not make the people inhabiting it look stupid’.”