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Why or Why Not Choose a Double Skin Facade?

The choice of the facade type often depends on the upfront costs and its long-term performance. After all, the building facade will take a huge percentage of the total construction costs of a structure.

Moreover, the appropriate facade provides long-term thermal, acoustics, lighting and energy benefits. It’s been especially the case during recent times wherein energy performance and sustainability are the priorities.

To achieve those benefits, many engineers and architects consider the double skin facade. It’s a system with two skins wherein air flows in the intermediate cavity. Aside from better ventilation and insulation, this facade system may also provide additional acoustic protection and improved daylighting.

Advantages and disadvantages

In terms of design, other facade types can achieve the same appearance. The main selling point of double skin facades is they provide long-term energy benefits. Also, this facade system can work well both in cold and warm climates. This makes it ideal for different locations (e.g. Sydney, Frankfurt).

However, there are still disadvantages related to the use of this facade system. Because of the two skins and the intermediate layer, this type of facade occupies extra space. This is especially important in highly urbanised areas wherein the price of land is sky high.

Moreover, the same level of energy performance can be achieved through other facade systems that occupy less space. Also consider the additional upfront costs of completing the facade. The two skins and the cavity may require hundreds of square metres worth of construction materials and surface area.

We mentioned earlier that double-skin facades present ventilation benefits because air is flowing in the intermediate cavity. However, the cavity can also become a problem due to condensation. It could become a thriving area for moulds and introduce structural problems to the overall structure.

Which facade system is right?

The choice depends on the scale and end use of the building. We also have to consider the local environment (weather, wind, rainfall) and the immediate neighbours. With all these variables at play, each project becomes unique in its own right. As a result, the facade system optimal for each building will vary from project to project. Also, developers have varying requirements specific to each building.

Here at CGS Facade Group, we specialise in designing the optimal facade system for a building. Whether it’s curtain walling, metallic cladding or double-skin facade systems, we can choose and design the optimal one for your project. Contact us today and our team with international experience will work closely with you.