Building applications, opportunities and challenges of active shading systems: A state-of-the-art review

Joud Al Dakheel, Kheira Tabet Aoul

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Active shading systems in buildings have emerged as a high performing shading solution that selectively and optimally controls daylight and heat gains. Active shading systems are increasingly used in buildings, due to their ability to mainly improve the building environment, reduce energy consumption and in some cases generate energy. They may be categorized into three classes: smart glazing, kinetic shading and integrated renewable energy shading. This paper reviews the current status of the different types in terms of design principle and working mechanism of the systems, performance, control strategies and building applications. Challenges, limitations and future opportunities of the systems are then discussed. The review highlights that despite its high initial cost, the electrochromic (EC) glazing is the most applied smart glazing due to the extensive use of glass in buildings under all climatic conditions. In terms of external shadings, the rotating shading type is the predominantly used one in buildings due to its low initial cost. Algae façades and folding shading systems are still emerging types, with high initial and maintenance costs and requiring specialist installers. The algae façade systems and PV integrated shading systems are a promising solution due to their dual benefits of providing shading and generating electricity. Active shading systems were found to save 12 to 50% of the building cooling electricity consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1672
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Active shading systems
  • Algae façade system
  • Controls
  • Folding shading systems
  • Kinetic shading devices
  • Photovoltaic (PV)
  • Rotating shading systems
  • Smart glazing
  • Solar collector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Optimization
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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