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Energy-Efficient Envelope The new GSA building’s “second skin” of nearly opaque glass is held in place by a lightweight metal frame affixed to the concrete walls. Placed away from the thermal wall of the building, the glass skin provides substantial shading from direct heat gain. The result is a cooled microclimate created in the space between the two exterior layers, which reduces the load requirements for air conditioning systems. Apertures in the glass skin, sized somewhat smaller than the windows, reduce glare within the work spaces while also affording interior daylighting and views to the outdoors. In addition, the concrete walls are sheathed in aluminum shingles that reflect sunlight. The combination of reflectivity and the high thermal mass of the concrete works to stabilize temperatures inside the building. The aluminum surface is fully revealed on the north side where varied window patterns animate the facade and respond to specific lighting requirements for interior functions. 7 / 8 2 0 1 0 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t 47

Texas Architect July/August 2010: Extreme Design

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