Over the decades, a rapidly changing climate has prompted the world’s most influential leaders and institutions to take action against such an imminent threat. The introduction of Nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) concept, though, has barely triggered a major shift, while voluntary labelling systems do not seem to offer any reasonable alternative. Building design ought to be readdressed from the ground up, with climate-responsive constructions servings as a valuable starting point for the purpose. In this paper, conventional bioclimatic design is enhanced and supported by the introduction of Building Automation Control Systems: Typically, the former determines long-term seasonal patterns, whereas the latter only affects the short-term behavior. Their schedules are based on realistic assumptions, while set-points are fine-tuned following energy simulations. Good results have been achieved for a case-study facility in Porto, both in terms of indoor adaptive thermal comfort (the simulated operative temperature complies the adaptive comfort model for more than 98% of the reference year) and energy use (reduced by 53%, compared to a baseline building, devoid of any automation system). Being focused on the decision-making rather than on specific items of design, the authors claim that such an approach may be employed in any climate, regardless of the building type or size, as long as the process is driven by a genuine analysis of the local context (i.e., climate) and by purposefully devised energy simulations.
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