To answer the question about gaps, it’s first important to understand the purpose of brise soleil.
In a nutshell:
- Brise soleil systems are designed to block the glare of direct sun
- Wide blades that are too close together will block too much light
- Wider blades need bigger gaps between them; thinner blades can be closer together
- Modern brise soleil systems are also designed for aesthetic qualities
- It’s best to collaborate with specialists on questions of blade width, gaps and overall design
Despite the name meaning ‘sun blocker’ in French, brise soleil systems also need to let in ‘good’ light from the sun at certain times of the day or year. Otherwise, they could be made up of solid panels - and block out everything.
So, having established there needs to be gaps between the blades, how big should these gaps be?
Again, we have to go back a step and look at the angle of the blades. Typically, this is around 45 degrees to provide protection from the sun when it’s brightest and hottest.
But at that angle, wide blades that are too close together will block out too much light. So, what do solar shading specialists do? They increase the gaps between the blades. In turn, narrower blades need to be closer together. It’s as simple as that. Or is it?
Today’s brise soleil systems are designed as much for their aesthetic qualities as they are for their practical benefits. Blade width and gaps size may be important for the overall look. In fact, there’s mounting evidence that suggests that modern façades and brise soleil systems in our towns and cities can have a psychological effect on how we feel about a building.
But one requirement can’t take precedence over the other. Blade width, gaps and overall design are all tied up together, and require collaboration with a brise soleil specialist from Day One.
Finally, don’t confuse gaps between blades with the small gaps required between metal components to allow for thermal expansion - an important consideration on a product that’s specifically designed to be exposed to the sun.
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