Energy climate buildings: an introduction to designing future-proof buildings in New Zealand and the tropical Pacific

Byrd, Hugh (2012) Energy climate buildings: an introduction to designing future-proof buildings in New Zealand and the tropical Pacific. Transforming Cities, Auckland, New Zealand. ISBN 9780992250904

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Abstract

It is only in the last 100 years that mankind has
harnessed enough energy from, primarily, fossil
fuels to be able to construct buildings that have
been able to ignore the climate around them and
exclude the natural environment from within them.
Energy has allowed architects to design buildings
that can ignore natural ventilation, daylight and
the sun’s energy by replacing it with an artifi cial
environment that is air-conditioned, humidifi ed
and artifi cially lit.
This ability to use mechanical means to control
the environment has allowed architects to freely
experiment with the form, fabric and materials of
a building in the knowledge that however poorly
the building envelope performs, the internal
environment of a building can always be remedied
by using more energy for cooling, heating or
lighting. Architecture must now move away from those
designs and styles that exclude the natural
environment and move towards those that select
aspects of the environment in order to maintain
control of the internal environment. These are
designs that are characterised by a built form
that maximises the use of ambient energy, takes
account of the sun’s position and allow occupants
to intervene in the control system.
New Zealand has historically lagged behind
European countries in introducing higher standards
for the environmental performance of buildings.
For example, it introduced a Building Code
requiring double glazing some 30 years after the
UK and a rating tool for assessing buildings some
20 years behind. At the beginning of the second
decade of the 21st century New Zealand is still
building glass boxes and calling them ‘sustainable’.
There is at present a strange paradox where
buildings can have a ‘sustainability’ rating of “best
practice” and yet have a building envelope that
is on the threshold of breaking the law (Building
Code).

Additional Information:It is only in the last 100 years that mankind has harnessed enough energy from, primarily, fossil fuels to be able to construct buildings that have been able to ignore the climate around them and exclude the natural environment from within them. Energy has allowed architects to design buildings that can ignore natural ventilation, daylight and the sun’s energy by replacing it with an artifi cial environment that is air-conditioned, humidifi ed and artifi cially lit. This ability to use mechanical means to control the environment has allowed architects to freely experiment with the form, fabric and materials of a building in the knowledge that however poorly the building envelope performs, the internal environment of a building can always be remedied by using more energy for cooling, heating or lighting. Architecture must now move away from those designs and styles that exclude the natural environment and move towards those that select aspects of the environment in order to maintain control of the internal environment. These are designs that are characterised by a built form that maximises the use of ambient energy, takes account of the sun’s position and allow occupants to intervene in the control system. New Zealand has historically lagged behind European countries in introducing higher standards for the environmental performance of buildings. For example, it introduced a Building Code requiring double glazing some 30 years after the UK and a rating tool for assessing buildings some 20 years behind. At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century New Zealand is still building glass boxes and calling them ‘sustainable’. There is at present a strange paradox where buildings can have a ‘sustainability’ rating of “best practice” and yet have a building envelope that is on the threshold of breaking the law (Building Code).
Keywords:New Zealand, design with climate, building design
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
F Physical Sciences > F330 Environmental Physics
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:7894
Deposited On:08 Mar 2013 22:24

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