Passive solar energy

Advocates of passive solar design have been around for many decades and the prize-winning schemes in a European competition for passive solar housing mounted in 1980 show that the technology has not advanced significantly since that time. However, the intensification of the global warming debate has led to increasing pressure to design buildings which make maximum use of free solar gains for heating, cooling and lighting. This will be considered in detail in later chapters. Because it displaces...

Chapter Lighting and human Fifteen failings

Artificial lighting is a major factor in deciding the quality of the internal environment of offices. It is also a serious contributor to carbon dioxide, (CO2) emissions accounting in the US, for example, for up to 30 per cent of total electricity use (ScientificAmerican, March 2001). For these reasons it is a subject that warrants special attention. Design studies suggest that considerable energy savings can be made by maximising natural light, particularly if it is linked to automatic...

Renewable technologies

Hydroelectric generation small-scale hydro 'run-of-river' systems tidal energy - barrage systems and the tidal fence, underwater turbines, impoundment systems wave power, coastal and offshore oscillating water column the 'Tapchan' system. The solar chimney thermal concentrator wind power photovoltaics power from biomass and waste direct combustion from rapid rotation crops biogas liquid fuels, rapeseed diesel geothermal energy hydrogen nuclear. Construction systems masonry, frame, innovative...

Socioeconomic factors

The focus of the book began at the global scale and gradually sharpened down to the detailed design of buildings. It seems appropriate to end by again speculating more widely about socio-economic issues which will affect all who operate within the construction industry. Despite government exhortations to convert to public transport, motorists are showing no sign of responding. At present the average distance travelled by car per day is 28 miles. By 2025 it is expected that this will rise to 60...

Next generation solar cells

Part Gratzel Cell

From the point of view of buildings, the most obvious renewable electricity source is the solar cell. High unit cost is the barrier which is preventing production achieving economies of scale. But here again things could be about to change. The solar cells of the future are likely to use thin film technology, for example titanium-oxide coated nanocrystals with ruthenium dye which mimic photosynthesis and which are now being developed in Switzerland. They absorb light strongly in the red and...

Emergent technologies and future prospects

No other century has begun with such an awareness of the potential for change and of the uncertainties that underlie that perception. The best we can do is identify the developing technologies and socio-economic trends that are clearly discernible and extrapolate from them. There are some predictions we can make with reasonable confidence and consider the implications for architects and related professions. There is little doubt that global warming will trigger changes that will fundamentally...

Glenwood Park Atlanta Georgia

Due to be completed in 2006, Glenwood Park (Figure 20.3) aims to be 'a model of environmentally conscious urbanism' according to its developer Charles Brewer. The site is two miles east of downtown Atlanta and the developers have managed to 'civilise' a state highway, converting it to the development's main street with traffic calming Glenwood Park neighbourhood as proposed measures and lined with trees and shops. The object is to be pedestrian friendly 'to create a sociable, walkable community...

Microcombined heat and power CHP

It is interesting how two nineteenth century technologies, the Stirling engine and the fuel cell, are only now coming into their own. Invented by Robert Stirling in 1816, the engine that bears his name is described as an 'external combustion engine'. This is because heat is applied to the outside of the unit to heat up a gas within a sealed cylinder. The heat source is at one end of the cylinder whilst the cooling takes place at the opposite end. The internal piston is driven by the successive...

Energy for the future

If demand continues to rise at the present rate it is expected that most of the world's fossil fuel resources will run out around the middle of this century. There are still those who put their faith in the commercial application of nuclear fusion perhaps relying on the fact that an energy vacuum will radically alter the definition of 'commercial'. However, this goal still seems as elusive as ever. On a global scale there is no real optimism about the capacity of current renewable technology to...

Flywheel technology

The problem with flywheels is that the G-forces can cause a catastrophic explosion. Space technology is the driving force behind the development of superfast flywheels that can store a considerable quantity of kinetic energy to be converted into electricity. The future seems to point to materials like composites of carbon fibre and epoxy resin. However, early in the 1990s research in Japan was developing a 3 m flywheel made from stainless steel levitating between powerful magnetic fields...

Demonstration House for the Future South Wales

Cross Section Pic Pellette Stove

A competition winning 'House for the Future' has been designed by Jestico Wiles within the grounds of the Musuem of Welsh Life in South Wales. Its two key attributes are sustainability and flexibility. It is capable of occupying a variety of situations a rural location, a greenfield suburban site or high density urban sites in terrace form. The structure of the house consists of a post and beam timber frame prefabricated from locally grown oak. A superinsulated timber stud wall faced with oak...

Hydroelectric generation

Hydroelectric schemes which exploit height difference in the flow path of water are the oldest method of generation from water. It involves damming a watercourse to create the necessary pressure to drive high speed impulse turbines. The Boulder Dam scheme in the USA was the first large-scale project implemented in the 1930s as a means of driving the country out of recession. One of the first major projects to be completed after the Second World War was the Aswan Dam scheme initiated by Colonel...

Internal air flow and ventilation

Portcullis House

Air flow in the interior of buildings may be created by allowing natural ventilation or by the use of artificial mechanical ventilation or air conditioning. The production of buildings using more than one of these options is becoming more frequent. Such buildings are said to be 'mixed-mode'. The overriding principle should be to minimise the need for artificial climate systems and one way to achieve this is to make maximum use of natural ventilation in conjunction with climate sensitive design...

Beaufort court renewable energy centre zero emissions building Studio E Architects

Beaufort Court Wind Turbine

Where possible the reuse of existing buildings is the best way to meet the sustainability agenda. An excellent example of this strategy is the headquarters of an energy company near London. The description of the development by David Lloyd Jones of Studio E Architects is quoted at length as being the most appropriate explanation of the design strategy. Solar design aspects of the renewable energy centre and interim findings David Lloyd Jones, Studio E Architects The Renewable Energy Centre at...

Low energy Conference Centre Earth Centre Doncaster

Earth Centre Conference Centre Doncaster

This is a building built to the highest super-insulation standards which is no less than we would expect from its architect, Bill Dunster. It has natural wind-driven ventilation with heat recovery from exhaust air transferred to incoming air. Solar collectors on the roof direct warm water to a calorifier in an underground insulated 400 m3 tank. Heat is stored over the summer to be circulated throughout the winter, with a wood burning stove for backup heat. A wind generator mounted in the boiler...

Tools for environmental design

The three main categories of passive solar design, along with their subdivisions, are most usually applied within domestic-scale designs. However, similar principles have been analysed with reference to commercial developments. One assessment method that addresses this sector is the Lighting and Thermal Value of Glazing Method - the 'LT Method', developed in the UK. This method reduces a building to an orthogonal plan with core and perimeter zones. The perimeter zone is that which is subject to...

Small wind turbines

Wind Catchers

In this context 'small' means wind machines that are scaled from a few watts to 20 kW. Machines between 1 and 5 kW may be used to provide either direct current DC or alternating current AC . They are mainly confined to the domestic level and are often used to charge batteries. The larger machines are suitable for commercial industrial buildings and groups of houses. Small-scale electricity production on site has economic disadvantages in the UK given the present buy-in rates for small...

Construction technologies

Walls and rainscreens The glazed curtain wall has advanced considerably since it came into vogue in the 1960s. The repository for knowledge in this context is the Centre for Window and Cladding Technology www.cwct.co.uk . Metal panel systems are now available with integral insulation, for example EDM Spanwall which uses flat metal sheets pressure bonded to the insulation core. Precast concrete panels also come with integral insulation. Trent Concrete has introduced an insulated concrete...

Photovoltaic applications

Mont Cenis Academy Complex Germany

Commercial buildings have perhaps the greatest potential for PV cells to be integrated into their glazing as well as being roof mounted. Even at the present state of the technology, Ove Arup and Partners estimate that one third of the electricity needed to run an office complex could come from PVs with only a 2 per cent addition to the building cost. The main advantage of commercial application is that offices use most of their energy during daylight hours. The case study of the Zicer building...

The prospects for wood

Experimental Structures Glue Laminated

The House of the Future raises the question of the structural use of timber in buildings. Timber scores well on the sustainability scale, provided it is obtained from an accredited source such as the Forestry Stewardship Council. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum 7 miles north of Chichester is a national centre for the conservation and study of traditional timber-framed buildings. The Conservation Centre explores new techniques in greenwood timber construction. Edward Cullinan Architects...

The Beddington Zero Energy Development BedZED

The Innovative Peabody Trust commissioned this development as an ultra-low energy mixed use scheme in the London Borough of Sutton. It consists of 82 homes, 1600 m2 of work space, a sports club, nursery, organic shop and health centre, all constructed on the site of a former sewage works - the ultimate brownfield site. Peabody was able to countenance the additional costs of the environmental provisions on the basis of the income from the offices as well as the homes. Though the Trust is...

Active solar thermal systems

Seasonal Thermal Heat Storage

A distinction must be drawn between passive means of utilising the thermal heat of the sun, discussed earlier, and those of a more 'active' nature. Active systems take solar gain a step further than passive solar. They convert direct solar radiation into another form of energy. Solar collectors preheat water using a closed circuit calorifier. The emergence of Legionella has highlighted the need to store hot water at a temperature above 60oC which means that for most of the year in temperate...

The National Assembly for Wales Richard Rogers Partnership

Suspended Ceiling Detailing Glass Facade

Following devolution, the Principality of Wales was granted greater autonomy resulting in the need for an assembly building for which the Richard Rogers Partnership was appointed architects with environmental engineer BDSP. It is a classic example of architect and engineer working in concert from the earliest stage of the project. The design brief was for a building which reflected the democratic nature of government whilst also being a landmark example of low energy design. It also has to last...

Towards the less unsustainable city

Woking Town Centre Chp

The ultimate challenge will be to transform existing towns and cities so that they become less of an 'ecological black hole'. The city is an epicentre of consumption, but also capable of being the highest visible manifestation of civilisation - 'civis' the city. Cities have powerful symbolic resonance which means that there are considerable constraints on change. Over the next 50 years, barring catastrophes like sea level rise, the basic form and infrastructure of European cities will not...

Beddington Zero Energy Development BedZED

Zero Energy Town Houses

BedZED is not just another low energy housing scheme, it is a prescription for a social revolution a prototype of how we should live in the twenty-first century if we are to enjoy a sustainable future Figure 18.7 . The design was led by Bill Dunster Architects who are one of the UK's top evangelists for ecologically sustainable architecture with the services and energy strategy developed by Arup Associates. The Innovative Peabody Trust commissioned this development as an ultra-low energy mixed...

High and superinsulation

Jaywick Green

In recent years attention has been focused towards the use of very thick layers of insulation within the building fabric in order to minimise heat flow. This technique has become known as superinsulation. The use of superinsulation has so far been best demonstrated at the domestic scale. This may be partly due to the problems of overheating experienced in many larger, deeper plan commercial buildings, problems which override the benefits of reduced winter heating requirements. In the future,...

Unassisted natural ventilation

Coventry University Library Lightwell

Pioneers of natural ventilation are Alan Short and Brian Ford in association with Max Fordham. Their first groundbreaking building in the UK was the Queen's Engineering Building at Leicester de Montfort University Short Ford and Partners . This building has been well documented and a particularly useful reference is Thomas, R. ed. 1996 Environmental Design, E amp FN Spon. Maintaining the principle of pure natural ventilation without mechanical assistance is the Coventry University Library, the...

Facilitates heat recovery

Solar Shading Light Shelf

An example of a climate facade building is the office development at 88 Wood Street in the City of London by the Richard Rogers Partnership RRP . The requirement was for floor to ceiling glazing which can create a problem of solar gain which is exacerbated by the heat from computers and, in this case, a high services loading. The facade developed by RRP and Ove Arup and Partners consists of a double glazed external skin made up of some of the world's largest double glazed units measuring 3 m X...

The ecological tower

Commerzbank Tower Office Floor Plate

Surely an oxymoron The orthodox 'green' would rule out anything above about 12 storeys since this is the height at which natural ventilation in the western European climate zone is said to become impracticable. Tower blocks usually require a heavy engineering services system. Also the construction energy costs rise significantly every five floors or so. However, the ecological tower block has its advocates, most notably Ken Yeang from Kuala Lumpur. He pioneered the idea of gardens in the sky...

Photochromic thermochromic and electrochromic glass

Each of these terms describes a variety of glazing in which the transmission properties are variable. Extensive opportunities exist for the development of some of these technologies to allow dynamic control of light and heat gain to match building and occupant requirements. Photochromic devices change transmission in response to prevailing radiation levels. Small examples have been in everyday use for some years in the form of sunglasses and spectacles. These react automatically to light...

Types of smallscale wind turbine

Darrieus Rotor Wind Turbine

Most small systems have a direct drive permanent magnet generator which limits mechanical transmission losses. Systems under 2 kW usually have a 24-48 volt capacity aimed at battery charging or a DC circuit rather than having grid compatibility. Up to the present, horizontal axis machines are much more in evidence that the vertical axis type even at this scale. These machines have efficient braking systems for when wind speed is excessive. Some even tip backwards in high winds adopting the...

Mechanically assisted ventilation

Portcullis House Ventilation System

Rotating cowls was the system adopted by Michael Hopkins and Partners with Ove Arup and Partners in the Nottingham University Jubilee Campus Figure 12.9 . This ventilation system is the successor to Hopkins' and Arup's innovations at the Inland Revenue HQ also in Nottingham, and Portcullis House, Westminster. These led to a low pressure mechanical system linked to heat recovery via a thermal wheel which recovers 84 per cent of the exhaust heat. The mechanical system requires 51 000 kWh per year...

Ecological City of Tomorrow Malmo Sweden

Bo01 City Tomorrow Malmo

A European Commission demonstration project is almost completed in Malmo, comprising a whole new district consisting of housing, shops, offices and other services. It aims to be a zero net energy scheme, with its 11 GWh year energy demand making no net contribution to carbon dioxide CO2 emissions. It is being built on a reclaimed industrial site by the Ribersborg beach and close to the historic centre of Malmo. The project is the first phase of a 10 year programme to make the city of Malmo a...

Tidal energy

Working Principle Tidal Fences

Tidal energy is predictable to the minute for at least the rest of the century. Tide levels can be affected by storm surges as experienced dramatically in the UK in 1953. The British Isles benefit from some of the greatest tidal ranges in Europe. In summary, there are at least four technologies that can exploit the action of the tides, offering reliable electricity in the multi-gigawatt range. They are Trapping water at high tide and releasing it when there is an adequate head is an ancient...

Building integrated systems

Altechnica Turbine

The Vivo building illustrates one version of a building integrated wind generating system. There is increasing interest in the way that the design of buildings can incorporate renewable technologies including wind turbines. Up to now such machines have been regarded as adjunct to buildings but a concept patented by Altechnica of Milton Keynes demonstrates how multiple turbines can become a feature of the design. The system is designed to be mounted on the ridge of a roof or at the apex of a...

The David Wilson Millennium Eco House

Natural Ventilation During Winter

A demonstration Eco-House has been built in the grounds of the School of the Built Environment, University of Nottingham Figure 8.3 . It is designed as a research facility and a flexible platform for the range of systems appropriate to housing. Its features are PV tiles integrated into conventional slates providing 1250 kWh year solar collectors of the vacuum tube type on the south elevation to meet the demand for domestic hot water light pipe illuminating an internal bathroom and providing...