Thinking Outside the Window: Window AC Prototype
A good design does not stop at a building. A good design seeks; what is next? It was this very question as a Designer that led to the birth of developing the Window/AC prototype for Bronx Pro Group (the client) to create a simpler cooling element to move away from the limited market cooling products in Passive House designs while working at Curtis +Ginsberg Architects. The Window/AC prototype led to reimagining and simplifying the cooling in the design that simultaneously addressed the need to have it more affordable, controllable, smaller targeted air-conditioned options that would also assist in building maintenance and operational cost to be low in Passive House design. In addition to this, the building’s electrification loads were important because the design needed to comply with the Primary Energy load of <6200 kWh/person/yr to meet the PHIUS standards. Since the application of the window AC unit in a Thermo Tech window had limitations, it led to an apt opportunity to invent a solution.
Install a window AC in a certified Passive House window that can be closed when not in use and kept open when in use.
The prototype concept was to make the certified PH window (Intus Window) to act as the Primary Window Unit frame because it was high performing and thermally broken with a U‑value of 0.16 Btu/(h.ft2.°F) and connect it with the Secondary Window Unit making it performative as part of the Passive House Envelope.
The parameters of the prototype would respond the same way to three different window configurations as part of the design also.
The advantage of this approach was that the window AC unit provided a variety of manufacturers alternatives, the cooling loads would be sized correctly for all the rooms, and AC units were incorporated in the facade design language in a holistic way.
PROTOTYPE DESIGN REQUIREMENTS
In response to the facade design and building code the prototype of the AC window design was studied and analyzed to meet the following requirements :