AECOM Designs Intricate Building Envelopes in NYC

FenestraPro enabled designers to continuously ensure compliance with thermal performances and glass-to-wall standards as design proposals were developed in Revit.

Stage: Schematic Design, Detailed Design

Meet Code Compliance

For Thermal Performance and Glass To Wall Ratio

Key Benefits

Balance Occupant Comfort

Using Daylighting and Shading

Generate Energy-Reducing Solutions

Maintain Aesthetic of Original Building Designs

Project Overview

AECOM NYC was commissioned to design a school for the New York School Construction Authority. As the NYSCA strictly regulates design requirements around building fabric and fenestration/shading solutions, the design team used FenestraPro in early stages to explore alternative design options.

While compliance with NYSCA requirements was essential, the designers needed solutions that would not compromise the aesthetic of the building design and still ensure occupant comfort.

The project designers required an effective and quick method of prototyping the envelope with a fixed total glass to wall ratio while validating outline thermal performances. Then, the designers focused on exploring solar heat loads and daylight factor values to the building’s internal spaces.

Understanding Performance Values and Shading

The designers restricted the total glass to wall ratio to a maximum of 25% and assigned outline thermal performances to the different envelope elements. When reviewing optimal solutions from FenestraPro for internal heat gains and design daylight factor, the designers distributed glazing around the building. When internal performance values did not achieve a satisfactory standard, the designers modified their specification selections and FenestraPro provided real-time calculations per façade.

Where daylight performance was low in spaces to the Northwest, the designers increased the glass to wall ratio from 5% to 10%. FenestraPro automatically reduced the ratio to the Southwest to maintain the fixed glass to wall ratio for the entire building. The designers found that a solar heat load issue was created when providing 40% to the South using suitable daylight values. The designers were able to efficiently model shading solutions to manage this problem.


FenestraPro enabled the designers at AECOM NY to strictly control the window to wall ratio (WWR) as to not exceed 25%, due to specifications outlined by NYSEC. To optimize each façade orientation for daylight quality and energy performance, FenestraPro calculated shading with suitable daylight values for each façade:
-10% for East and West;
-40% for North;
-40% for South.
The addition of permanent exterior solar shades in various types was proposed for the east (vertical) and south (horizontal) of the building.

FenestraPro allowed the designers to propose an optimized building envelope that meets and exceeds the requirements ASHRAE 90.1-2013. As a low building EUI is integral to the goals of this project, the effects of a thermally improved envelope are hugely beneficial as it moves into the design of mechanical systems.

Key Features Used

Performance Manager

Understand implications of glass to wall ratio settings using Performance Manager

Glazing Analysis

Precise breakdown in how glazing impacts overall building performance

Facade Manager

Measure internal heat gains, shading and daylighting for every façade orientation

Download This Case Study

FenestraPro allowed us to automatically generate façade geometry and window types in both the conceptual and detailed design phases of this project, achieving quick and real-time simulation results on daylight and thermal balance.

Xiaofei ShenSustainability Engineer at AECOM NYC