Buildings2014, 4(4), 823-848; doi:10.3390/buildings4040823 (registering DOI) - published 31 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper reviews briefly the recent history of dwelling design in China. It notes the rapid changes that have taken place since the 1980s and identifies the way contemporary procurement processes leave out the final fit-out and decoration/refurbishment. A range of stakeholders were interviewed, and access was gained to drawings and other technical data that indicated how the secondary processes were carried out. These are largely ungoverned by regulation in the same way necessary for initial design. The key group is the occupants who drive the fit-out and decoration according to personal and cultural requirements, but often with less than perfect understanding of sustainability. The interior design industry has developed rapidly over the same period and was initially lacking in professional knowledge and understanding (something which can still be found). Advice provided to dwelling occupants was based more on appearance than function and efficiency. Over the same period, beneficial modifications to construction processes have been introduced in relation to structural design, and it should be possible to do the same for sustainability-related design issues. The paper advocates: more regulation; better assessment techniques; more information and guidance for home-owners; and a greater focus on energy issues.
Abstract: The 2010 edition of the load standard in the United States (U.S.), ASCE 7-10, (Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures) introduced risk-targeted spectral acceleration values for the estimation of seismic design loads. In this study, a 20-story steel moment resisting frame structure located in Century City, CA, USA was designed based on ASCE 7-10 and a probabilistic seismic collapse assessment was conducted. The main goals of this study are: (a) to evaluate whether the design of a typical steel moment-frame structure based on risk-targeted spectral accelerations fulfills the target design collapse level of 1% probability of collapse in 50 years; and (b) to quantify the collapse potential of a tall steel structure design based on the most current U.S. seismic code provisions. The probability of collapse was estimated for two sets of 104 and 224 recorded ground motions, respectively. An evaluation of the results demonstrated that for this specific structure the code-prescribed collapse performance target was reasonably met.
Abstract: Indoor air quality (IAQ) can produce significant economic benefits for the tenant during the use of the building. However, currently the potential economic benefits on a tenant’s employees’ health and performance are not considered in feasibility studies for IAQ investments. Here, the economic value refers to benefits that can be expressed numerically in terms of money such as cost savings and increased revenues and that which impacts the building user organization’s financial profitability. This paper is one of the first known studies to explore real option analysis (ROA) as a potential approach to evaluate the life-cycle profitability of investments in IAQ. The research is carried out as a case study, which is a healthcare construction project in Finland. The main finding of this paper is that ROA seems to provide a viable method for the evaluation of investments in IAQ. In the case study, the economic benefits of IAQ to the tenant are noticeable. The real option value of the economic benefits of better IAQ is almost 4 million euros and the real option pay-off of the IAQ investment exceeds 0.5 million euros. The results are indicative only but imply that ROA is a promising method to evaluate investments in IAQ.
Abstract: Urban blue space is increasingly embraced by cities as a specific and valuable genre of public space, valued for its economic, symbolic and experiential place attributes and essential to sustainable urban development. This article takes up the concept of urban blue space from a design perspective, extending and exploring it through a critical social science lens. Using the reconfiguration and redesign of the central Seattle waterfront as a case example, the idea of “doing justice” is enlisted to examine not just the design opportunities and formal characteristics of the site, but also the patterns of privilege, access and regional socio-ecological equity that are raised through its redesign. After situating the extraordinary design opportunity presented by this iconic urban blue space, and the imperative to do justice to the waterfront’s physical situation, the article presents the site from four additional and discrete perspectives: economic justice, environmental justice, social justice and tribal justice. By thus foregrounding the urban political ecology of the waterfront, the article demonstrates that the most important challenge of the site’s redevelopment is not technological, financial or administrative, although these are real, and significant challenges, but rather, the need to construct a place that works to counter established patterns of local and regional injustice. In Seattle as in other coastal port cities, urban blue space is a shared public and environmental good, with unique and demanding governance responsibilities for its conceptualization and sustainable development.
Abstract: The reasons for high carbon emissions from domestic buildings are complex, and have both social and technical dimensions. At the same time, it is costly and very time-consuming to gather reliable data on energy use in the home. The authors had early access to data from the Household Electricity Survey—the most detailed survey of electricity consumption in UK homes ever undertaken—which monitored 250 homes. The data enabled the authors to investigate a series of socio-technical questions drawn up by the UK Government: Why do some households use far more energy than average, whereas others use much less? What potential is there for shifting “peak load” so that electricity demand is more even through the day? Why is base load electricity use so high? The answers were seldom definitive, but statistical tests found significant correlations between high electricity use and social grade, large household size, unemployment and middle age; and between low electricity use and single-person households, small dwellings, and retirement. This paper draws out key findings from the work, and examines how these insights affect our broader understanding of carbon emissions from the built environment.