Abstract: Despite documented political support for energy reduction measures in Switzerland’s built environment, as well as high international regard for its construction and research sectors, design practitioners and researchers perceive a diverse set of challenges involved in the implementation of green development solutions. Grounded in Science and Technology Studies (STS), observations drawn from 31 semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with Swiss building industry experts provide insight into the relationships between designers, researchers and public authorities. A series of examples from the empirical data show how regulatory frictions and the challenges of implementing construction strategies into diverse domestic and international working contexts are ameliorated.
Abstract: This paper offers a new approach to understanding, improving and designing soundscapes. “Soundscape” means all the sounds that can be heard in a specific location. Soundscapes can be understood only through peoples’ perceptions, and this paper proposes using those perceptions to link soundscape improvement and design with traditional noise control methods. Decades of experience have yielded in-depth understanding of how undesirable sounds may be controlled or reduced. The control methods, however, are generally applicable to single sources of sound while soundscapes are composed of multiple sounds. Using human judgments, first in the laboratory and later in the field, it will be possible to deconstruct any soundscape into its desirable and undesirable sounds, which may then, one-by-one, be subjected to proven methods of noise control. This approach includes complications, not the least of which is deciding how much the undesirable sounds should be reduced to perceptually improve the soundscape. Previous published studies, primarily laboratory, but also field studies, suggest that initial laboratory work followed by increasingly complex field applications, should result in an understanding of how soundscapes can be improved and desirable ones designed.
Abstract: Egypt has been experiencing challenging economic, social and political disturbance during the end of the twentieth century and towards the beginning of the twenty-first. With its fast expanding population, high consumption rate and economic deficit, the Egyptian community continues to experience a low quality of living. These issues contributed greatly to the uprising, following the Tunisian model, in January, 2011. However, the political change that followed did not help a lot, as development strategies are still far from being sustainable. In the beginning of the millennium, Egypt experienced an 8.6% energy deficit, followed by a growing energy crisis . Knowing that almost 50% of the energy produced in Egypt is consumed inside buildings , environmentally conscious architecture can be a very powerful tool in development plans, as it can reasonably reduce the consumption of energy and other resources and enhance the quality of living for people. This work analyzes the supposed role of environmentally conscious architecture and, hence, evaluates its importance as a major component of national development plans in the near future. The analysis encompasses a review of the status quo in terms of consumption patterns and required services and, then, compares it with the case in which environmentally conscious architecture is adopted.
Abstract: Realigning the design of building envelopes within the measures of air, light and heat has rendered possible an inventive form of practice whose benefits are far in excess of the metrics of data and analysis. For many of its most advanced practitioners, the contemporary design of facades engages the true potential of “performance” when it deepens, broadens and complicates the theoretical dimension of this most liminal of surfaces. Of particular interest to this paper is a discussion of new theoretical paradigms associated with the design and operation of high performance envelopes of which four characteristics of this emergent sub-discipline are herein examined. To begin with, the way in which building envelopes are no longer separators, dividers and barriers between a building’s interior and exterior conditions, but rather, “spatially” defined environments that fully engage the totality of a building’s engineering systems, is discussed. Cantilevered Louvers, Double Skin Facades and Hybrid Conditioned Atria are representative of this new paradigm as is the use of Responsive Technologies to optimize their behaviors. Lastly, the paper examines the rise of the new integrated design building envelope professional called upon to deliver ever-better performing skins, whether in the guise of energy modeler, climate engineer or façade construction specialist. Hence, this paper develops a theoretical structure within which to describe, analyze and interpret the values made possible by this new and expanding field of performance based envelopes.
Abstract: In this paper we evaluate the thermal performance of a range of modern wall constructions used in the residential buildings of Tehran in order to find the most appropriate alternative to the traditional un-fired clay and brick materials, which are increasingly being replaced in favor of more slender wall constructions employing hollow clay, autoclaved aerated concrete or light expanded clay aggregate blocks. The importance of improving the building envelope through estimating the potential for energy saving due to the application of the most energy-efficient wall type is presented and the wall constructions currently erected in Tehran are introduced along with their dynamic and steady-state thermal properties. The application of a dynamic simulation tool is explained and the output of the thermal simulation model is compared with the dynamic thermal properties of the wall constructions to assess their performance in summer and in winter. Finally, the best and worst wall type in terms of their cyclic thermal performance and their ability to moderate outdoor conditions is identified through comparison of the predicted indoor temperature and a target comfort temperature.
Abstract: This study frames integration of Solar Energy Conversion Systems (SECS) with the built environment, addressing on-site limitations for resource allocation in the urban context. The Sun, buildings, and solar technologies are investigated as resource systems within Ostrom’s framework of the commons and shared governance, with associated goods (as resource units) appropriated from light conversion (products of daylight, heat, power, shade, money). Light is transient and unevenly distributed across the hours of the day across the year. Building surfaces utilized to convert light into useful products such as electricity are often “area-constrained” and cannot provide total power to all occupants in urban structures. Being unevenly distributed over time and being area-constrained makes the appropriated goods from the solar resource system scarce to commercial buildings and multi-family residences. Scarce commodities require management strategies to distribute the variable returns derived from technologies such as PV and solar hot water. The balance between sustainable urban communities and limited surface area to deliver solar products to all occupants will soon drive communities to consider how the solar goods are managed and allocated. Examples demonstrate management of solar resource and associated goods through collective actions of local communities via utility sponsored models, solar gardens, and crowd-sourced investment.