Many buildings are now constructed according to bioclimatic design criteria. Some buildings function properly: the climate and comfort are ideal. Other buildings, however, simply do not work; or rather, do not work according to the criteria devised at the design stage.
How to design a bioclimatic building that works? What are the tools for proper bioclimatic design today? What tools do we have today to design low-consumption and very comfortable buildings?
We will try to answer these and other questions in this and related articles.
Ready? Let’s get started: the basics…
BIOCLIMATIC ARCHITECTURE :
The bioclimatic architecture uses the natural elements of a given site: sun, wind, water, soil, and vegetation; to create comfortable and thermally efficient buildings. In bioclimatic architecture, an attempt is made to minimize the need for the “active” use of systems, in favor of passive building design. We know that construction is one of the main “sectors” that is highly polluting our planet.
It is proven that a large part of CO2 emissions (co-responsible gas for the greenhouse effect and global warming), comes precisely from the winter heating and summer cooling systems of buildings.
The bioclimatic approach is also historically linked to the principle of self-sufficiency and the off-grid concept (independent/disconnected from the grid). But let us remember that this parameter is not only one of the parameters to be checked for proper bioclimatic design…
Simplifying we can say:
In temperate climate regions, we generally distinguish three thermal phases, to which different building requirements correspond:
WINTER: solar radiation on the walls and windows must be promoted to warm the interior spaces (be careful not to overdo it!); high thermal insulation of the envelope is also needed to conserve accumulated heat.
SUMMER: It is necessary to protect the building from solar radiation with active and passive shading systems. Have envelopes with sufficient “dynamic thermal masses” to take advantage of this “dynamic inertia behavior “to better manage the indoor climate, as well as promote through strategies the natural ventilation of the building.
HALF SEASON: requires a combination of solutions that can both cool and heat.
HOW TO DESIGN A BIOCLIMATIC BUILDING?
Today we are at a particular moment in history where we have moved from Bioclimatic 0.0 design to Bioclimatic 2.0 design. In fact, we have missed Bioclimatic Design 1.0 on the way…
The tools at our disposal to design a bioclimatic building, are many and they are also very accurate. Whereas in 0.0 design, the building was designed “intuitively” based on the designer’s experience.
As useful and necessary as it is, to set up a design based on experience, today we have the great opportunity to design buildings and verify with specific software how they really work.
The purpose of this software is to predict the thermal and comfort behaviour of the building.
I said, the tools are many, unfortunately little known, however, they are there.
The basis for any bioclimatic design, is perfect knowledge of the local microclimate, in other words: perfect knowledge of “climate data.”
If we think about the historical role of the architect who knew the local climate perfectly, this kind of reasoning does not make a dent.
Generally, one is inclined to design the building according to one’s sensibility and experience.
Unfortunately, more and more often, engineers are forced to design in areas “far” from home i.e., in different places than he is “familiar with,” so how do you do it?
The only solution seems obvious: it is essential to be able to obtain, be able to read, and interpret local climate data correctly.