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The Architect's Newspaper, LLC
The installation of operable windows can give building occupants greater control over building temperature. During cooler summer days where outdoor air temperature is comfortable, building windows can be opened to allow for natural ventilation. In buildings with mechanical ventilation systems, the need for cooling and its associated energy costs will be reduced. Operable windows are essential in buildings that utilize passive ventilation strategies for cooling (i.e. cross ventilation and stack ventilation). Operable windows can also provide backup ventilation in the event of power outages or during other times when ventilation systems are inactive. A wide variety of operable windows are available depending on building needs and location.
Operable windows will have a larger capital cost compared to fixed windows, though the additional cost can be offset by reduced energy use for cooling and increased worker comfort and productivity. Not all windows in a commercial building need be operable; 15-20% operable windows positioned to allow for cross ventilation can be a cost-effective investment for a building owner. Ultimately, the cost-effectiveness of operable windows will often depend on occupant behavior. With operable windows it is very important that occupants be properly educated on window operation, so that the building does not end up wasting energy (eg. by having windows open in winter or improperly closing them). However, if managed properly, natural ventilation can save a building up to 10-30% of energy consumption .
Potential regulatory touchpoints in Boston and Massachusetts include: