Special Issue "Environmentally Conscious Architecture"

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A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ute Poerschke (Website)

Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, The Pennsylvania State University, 121 Stuckeman Family Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Fax: +1 814 865 3289
Guest Editor
Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Susanne Gampfer (Website)

Department of Architecture, University of Applied Science Augsburg, An der Hochschule 1, D-86161 Augsburg, Germany
Fax: +49 821 5586 3110

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue of buildings intends to bring together articles that reflect on environmentally conscious architecture in three different ways:

  • From a theoretical point of view, it seeks contributions that interpret and question the meaning, content and goal of environmentally conscious architecture: in which ways does it reflect on the relationship of context, ethics and aesthetics and include climate, cultural and/or economic conditions in order to go beyond mere energy efficient building?
  • In terms of a practical approach, it asks for contributions that present and elaborate on built work or building elements from diverse locations that express aspects of environmentally conscious architecture.
  • In respect to educational needs, it invites contributions that reflect best teaching methods for the theory and practice of environmentally conscious architecture.

Authors from locations and cultures around the world with specifically local or adaptable global approaches to environmentally conscious architecture are encouraged to submit an abstract or full article. The timeline for the special issue is as follows:

15 March 2013: Abstracts/article proposals due (500 words maximum)
1 April 2013: Notice of acceptance of proposals
15 July 2013: Full manuscripts due

Papers will be published after acceptance.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ute Poerschke
Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Susanne Gampfer
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Environmentally Conscious Architecture: Local–Global, Traditional–Innovative, and Cultural Challenges
Buildings 2013, 3(4), 766-770; doi:10.3390/buildings3040766
Received: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 16 December 2013
PDF Full-text (140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The editorial introduces the articles brought together in this Special Issue of Buildings, particularly their interpretation of the meaning, content, and goals of environmentally conscious architecture. The special issue goes beyond addressing mere energy efficient building by reflecting on the relationship of [...] Read more.
The editorial introduces the articles brought together in this Special Issue of Buildings, particularly their interpretation of the meaning, content, and goals of environmentally conscious architecture. The special issue goes beyond addressing mere energy efficient building by reflecting on the relationship of architecture to context, ethics and aesthetics, and to specific climate, cultural and/or economic conditions. The contributions cover various perspectives, which partially arise from the fact that the authors come from diverse locations and cultures around the world, from Korea, China, Egypt, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States. They discuss the topic from different disciplines such as cultural sciences, socio-economics, legislation, professional practice, building technology, and aesthetics. The articles touch on the diverse scales environmentally conscious architecture can have, from detail to urban planning. Some have a global approach, meaning that the conclusions they provide are adaptable to many industrialized countries. Others have a highly local approach, looking for solutions for a specific problem at a particular place, such as the sea-level rising in the Nile-Delta. Finally, theoretical articles can be distinguished from those with a practical approach, elaborating on built work or specific building elements. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Between Research and Practice: Experts on Implementing Sustainable Construction
Buildings 2013, 3(4), 739-765; doi:10.3390/buildings3040739
Received: 7 August 2013 / Revised: 3 October 2013 / Accepted: 21 October 2013 / Published: 1 November 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2583 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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. [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Environmentally Conscious Architecture and Planning As Components of Future National Development Plans in Egypt
Buildings 2013, 3(4), 713-727; doi:10.3390/buildings3040713
Received: 7 September 2013 / Revised: 30 September 2013 / Accepted: 6 October 2013 / Published: 14 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (415 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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 [...] Read more.
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 [1]. Knowing that almost 50% of the energy produced in Egypt is consumed inside buildings [2], 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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)
Open AccessArticle Framing the Sun and Buildings as Commons
Buildings 2013, 3(4), 659-673; doi:10.3390/buildings3040659
Received: 7 August 2013 / Revised: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 13 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1339 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Building in China—A Green Leap Forward?
Buildings 2013, 3(3), 639-658; doi:10.3390/buildings3030639
Received: 17 July 2013 / Revised: 11 September 2013 / Accepted: 13 September 2013 / Published: 23 September 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3355 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China is constructing new commercial buildings at an enormous rate—roughly 2 billion square meters per year, with considerable interest and activity in green design and construction. We review the context of commercial building design and construction in China, and look at a specific [...] Read more.
China is constructing new commercial buildings at an enormous rate—roughly 2 billion square meters per year, with considerable interest and activity in green design and construction. We review the context of commercial building design and construction in China, and look at a specific project as an example of a high performance, sustainable design, the Shenzhen Institute of Building Research (IBR). The IBR building incorporates over 40 sustainable technologies and strategies, including daylighting, natural ventilation, gray-water recycling, solar-energy generation, and highly efficient Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. We present measured data on the performance of the building, including detailed analysis by energy end use, water use, and occupant comfort and satisfaction. Total building energy consumption in 2011 was 1151 MWh, with an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 63 kWh/m2 (20 kBtu/ft2), which is 61% of the mean EUI value of 103 kWh/m2 (33 kBtu/ft2) for similar buildings in the region. We also comment on the unique design process, which incorporated passive strategies throughout the building, and has led to high occupant satisfaction with the natural ventilation, daylighting, and green patio work areas. Lastly we present thoughts on how the design philosophy of the IBR building can be a guide for low-energy design in different climate regions throughout China and elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)
Open AccessArticle Fudo: An East Asian Notion of Climate and Sustainability
Buildings 2013, 3(3), 588-597; doi:10.3390/buildings3030588
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 21 August 2013 / Accepted: 2 September 2013 / Published: 9 September 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (696 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
My paper discusses an East Asian notion of climate and its significance for sustainability. A particular reference is the environmental philosophy of Tetsuro Watsuji (1889–1960), a Japanese philosopher who reflected upon the meaning of climate, or “fudo” in the Sino-Japanese [...] Read more.
My paper discusses an East Asian notion of climate and its significance for sustainability. A particular reference is the environmental philosophy of Tetsuro Watsuji (1889–1960), a Japanese philosopher who reflected upon the meaning of climate, or “fudo” in the Sino-Japanese linguistic tradition. Watsuji sees fudo not merely as a collection of natural features—climatic, scenic, and topographical—of a given land, but also as the metaphor of subjectivity, or “who I am”. Furthermore, this self-discovery through fudo is never private but collective. By referring to a phenomenological notion of “ek-sistere”, or “to be out among other ‘I’s”, Watsuji demonstrates the pervasiveness of a climatic phenomenon and the ensuing inter-personal joining of different individuals to shape a collective sustainable measure in response to the phenomenon. My paper lastly concretizes the significance of fudo and its inter-personal ethical basis for sustainability by dwelling upon cross-ventilation in Japanese vernacular residential architecture. Cross-ventilation emerges only through what Watsuji calls “selfless openness” between different rooms predicated upon the joining of different ‘I’s soaked in hotness and humidity. Watsuji’s fudo thus offers a lesson that without considering the collective humane characteristic of a natural climatic phenomenon, any sustainable act is flawed and inefficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)
Open AccessArticle Energy-Efficient Technologies and the Building’s Saleable Floor Area: Bust or Boost for Highly-Efficient Green Construction?
Buildings 2013, 3(3), 570-587; doi:10.3390/buildings3030570
Received: 12 July 2013 / Revised: 11 August 2013 / Accepted: 16 August 2013 / Published: 26 August 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
When the external measurements of a building are fixed, an increase in external wall thickness caused by additional insulation, for example, will lead to loss of saleable floor area. This issue has to be taken into account in the evaluation of investment [...] Read more.
When the external measurements of a building are fixed, an increase in external wall thickness caused by additional insulation, for example, will lead to loss of saleable floor area. This issue has to be taken into account in the evaluation of investment profitability. This paper examines how technologies used in energy-efficient residential building construction affect the available saleable floor area and how this impacts profitability of investment. Using a modeled building and an analysis of the average construction cost, we assessed losses and gains of saleable floor area in energy-efficient buildings. The analysis shows that the impact of potential losses or gains of saleable floor area should be taken into account when comparing investment alternatives: building energy-efficient green dwellings or building conventional ones. The results indicate that constructing energy-efficient buildings and introducing very energy-efficient technologies may be energy- and cost-effective even compared with conventional buildings. Employing new products in energy-efficient construction allows benefit to be drawn from lower energy consumption during the life cycle of the building, but also from the increase in saleable floor area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)

Review

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Open AccessReview Performance Based Envelopes: A Theory of Spatialized Skins and the Emergence of the Integrated Design Professional
Buildings 2013, 3(4), 689-712; doi:10.3390/buildings3040689
Received: 30 August 2013 / Revised: 26 September 2013 / Accepted: 30 September 2013 / Published: 11 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7477 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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, [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)

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