Architectural Louver & Sunshade Design and Selection for Architects in Vancouver & Western Canada

February 09, 2017 | Blog 

Essential Design Elements and Criteria for Selecting the Optimum Louvers & Sunshades for Your Architectural Projects

Essential Design Elements for Selecting the Ideal Louvers & Sunshades for Architectural Projects in Vancouver & Calgary We’ve found during several recent Learning Events and meetings, that with the increasing adoption of higher efficiency building design, and the prevalence of LEED and Net Zero projects in Vancouver and Western Canada, louver and sunshade design and selection has become a crucial factor to Architects. 

We recognize that our local Architects are not only concerned about how important louvers are in terms of providing passive solar gain in the winter months and cooling shade in summer but also how useful louvers can be in providing privacy in areas of high building density such as downtown Vancouver or Calgary, without negatively impacting the overall building envelope aesthetics. 

Traditionally, louver design and product selection has been predominantly done by mechanical engineers & whilst that is still a very important part of the louver design criteria, the architectural designer can, and most would say should, play a lead role in louver selection working in close cooperation with the mechanical engineer to ensure that the Louver and Sunshade products selected are both aesthetic and engineered to last, be they in Aluminum or Stainless Steel.

Essential Design Elements to Think About When Choosing Architectural Louvers and SunshadesHere are some essential design elements to bear in mind when choosing your manufacturer of Architectural Louvers and Sunshades:  

  1. As Water penetration is a potential concern in louver design, has the manufacturer placed plenums with drains behind the louver to prevent water entry
  2. Is continuous blade appearance required or are exposed vertical mullions approximately every 1.5 m acceptable to your aesthetic?
  3. Depending upon wall construction is the depth of the louver critical to solar and privacy performance and aesthetic?
  4. Will some of the louvers be inactive and blanked off?
  5. Are there special colour and finish considerations to match curtainwall or other aesthetic elements of the building?
  6. From the mechanical engineer’s point of view, here are some of the criteria that they will want to have a role in:
  • Direction of airflow
  • Free area is also very important but only how it affects static pressure drop and air flow velocity. 

Based on feedback from the mechanical engineer, and to ensure your design integrity is maintained, your louver schedule should include the following:

  • Manufacturer’s name
  • Third-party certified by AMCA to ensure consistency and inherence to established standards
  • Louver model number
  • Width, height and depth of openings
  • Free area/airflow amount

If adding vision screens or roof screens to a building design, here are some of the other considerations:

  • From which angle is vision block important? 1 from the ground looking up,2 from above looking down or both?
  • Do the louver blades and the roof blades have to have a matched vertical or horizontal appearance?
  • Again, do you want a continuous blade or is a vertical visible mullion acceptable to the building aesthetic? 

InterCoast Building Solutions can assist you with all your questions, technical information, specification docs and helpful insights for louver and sunshade design and selection from Canada’s largest and longest established Louver and sunshade manufacturers. 

Whether you prefer vertical mullions, a continuous blade design, a rectangular, triangular or a circular profile (and even curved), in Aluminum or Stainless Steel and with AMCA testing and certification InterCoast can provide that fabricated louver or sunshade for you. 

See the Project Photo Gallery for Ten Plus Architectural Louvers, Sunshades and Vision Screens.