Now that we’re all spending much more time inside due to the pandemic, we’ve had a chance to truly understand and appreciate the significant impact that windows can have on a space. Views, sun angles, and orientation of windows are all important considerations when designing a new building - and as pleasant as it is to have a connection to the outdoors, windows can also cause issues like glare and heat gain. Of course no one wants a building with windows only on one side or to have the blinds shut constantly to be able to see their computer screen, so one versatile architectural solution is to shade windows using architectural wire mesh.
Effectively cutting the heat gain from windows without blocking views, wire mesh also provides an aesthetically interesting facade. The way that different lighting conditions interact with the wire mesh creates a variable, versatile facade. In direct sunlight from the exterior, it appears as a shimmering, metallic, relatively opaque facade. At night, however, the mesh becomes more translucent, especially when backlit to create even more visual interest. All the while, from the interior, the view angle from eye level allows for a relatively unobstructed view. Due to the geometry and openness of the wire mesh and sun angles, incident solar radiation and heat gain are filtered out, but the openings in the material still allow daylight, views, and even fresh air to pass through.
Exterior architectural mesh is more effective at sun protection than interior systems, which can also decrease cooling needs, and therefore costs, in a building. Particularly in warmer climates where the sun angle is high in the summer, the mesh is especially effective at shading and minimizing the heat gain to windows and/or the other building materials and thereby decreasing cooling costs. The openness of the mesh also means that when it’s applied to a facade, it will not impede airflow or allow hot air to accumulate between the mesh and the building. Conversely, in the winter when the sun angle is low, the mesh blocks less of the direct sunlight and heat gain and can reduce heating needs.
When combining wire mesh with a glass facade, however, the performance and interactions of the entire facade must be considered, including the type of glazing, incidence angle of the sunlight, distance between the wire mesh and the glazing, and the gloss level of the wire mesh. For example, with a solar incidence angle of 60 degrees, most Haver and Boecker wire mesh types decrease the amount of solar energy transmitted by 40-70%. A specific line of mesh created specifically for solar protection, the Largo-Twist 2045, reduces energy transmission by more than 90%.
Find more details about this protection system here, and check out 8 tips for incorporating metal meshes into your project.