The HelioTrace Façade system integrates three different systems—kinetic shades, the building enclosure, and internal mechanicals—into an adaptive façade that seeks to minimize energy use while maximizing user comfort. Its developers claim an effective shading level of 78 percent and an annual peak solar gain reduction of 81 percent.
In HelioTrace, a high-performance glass curtain wall is shaded by two exterior devices: opaque panels that project from the mullions, perpendicular to the façade; and 50-percent perforated panels deployed parallel to the building envelope. Both can be programmed to respond to solar movement and interior occupancy. Energy savings are enhanced by integrated interior systems: chilled ceilings and beams, and an underfloor dedicated outside air system.
Frank Barkow admired “the idea of a kinetic sunscreen,” and called the system a “skin job”—not in a pejorative way, either.