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Saturday, 03 November 2012 10:57

Bioclimatic design

Energy saving is particularly important to protect the environment and reduce emissions. Building sector certainly plays an important role in emissions and energy consumption, as the buildings have direct environmental impacts through the use of raw materials, natural resources, the production of pollutants and household waste.

In Greece, according to the National Statistical Office, there are about 4 million buildings with a total area of 552 million m2, which accounts for 40 % of the final energy consumption. Based on these numbers and the ultimate aim of reducing the environmental burden caused by the building sector, many efforts have been made to develop methodologies that
will lead to the energy upgrade of existing buildings and proper energy planning of both new and existing structures.

Bioclimatic design

The Bioclimatic design is a complex process, which must consider issues of energy interaction between a building and its environment. Regardless of whether the attention focuses on passive or active systems, the energy performance of the building at all times and seasons determines the success of the design.

At the same time, a bioclimatic building is a building that responds to the climatic conditions of its environment, modifying them with appropriate design in order to create such internal conditions that provide the lowest possible energy consumption, thermal and visual comfort to its user.
The objectives of bioclimatic design are:

  •     To save and to replace some or all the fuel consumption for heating, cooling and other needs of habitable space
  •     Ensure internal conditions within the comfort zone and
  •     Ensure a short-term depreciation of its additional initial costs compared to a conventional building, through the energy savings it leads to

For these purposes bioclimatic design combines the use of renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) by regulating the heat flow (insulation, waterproofing, ventilation, and shading) based always on the climate data and building goals.

Therefore and based on the definitions above, the basis of bioclimatic building and bioclimatic design is climate. Consequently, it is necessary to understand the factors and mechanisms that affect it.
The climatic elements are:

  •     The sun, with parameters of solar geometry and sunshine
  •     The air temperature,
  •     The wind with parameters the direction and intensity and
  •     Moisture with parameters the humidity of air and the environment

The proper observation of these elements and a design of a building based on their "exploitation" and integration to the building’s envelope lead to the so-called energy design which can drastically reduce the energy consumption of a building and its negative environmental impact.

Greece is generally characterized by a Mediterranean climate and has all the characteristics that can be used in passive solar architecture.