Is Passive Solar Design Irrelevant? As a new generation of do-it-yourself builders got busy experimenting in the s, passive solar design ideas proliferated. Builders claimed that attached sunspaces, solar collectors, trombe walls, earth ships, and many more ideas could keep a house comfortable with minimal or zero use of fossil fuels.
The positioning of openings to allow the penetration of solar radiationvisible light and for ventilation. In its most simple form, a shallow building orientated perpendicular to the prevailing wind with openings on both sides, will allow sunlight to penetrate into the middle of the building and will enable cross ventilation.
This should reduce the need for artificial lighting and may mean that cooling systems and mechanical ventilation are not necessary. In taller Passive design solutionsstack ventilation can be used to draw fresh air through a buildingand in deeper buildings atriums or courtyards can be introduced to allow light into the centre of the floorplan.
However, difficulties arise, for example; when buildings have cellular spaces that block the passage of solar radiation and air, or where site constraints create complex massing or mean that windows cannot be opened because of noise or air quality issues. This can lead to the introduction of more complex passive measures such as; trombe wallssolar chimneys or thermal chimneyssolar stacks, acoustic louvresthermal labyrinths and so on.
The situation is complicated further by different climates, changing seasons, and the transition from day to night, so that passive design may have to allow different modes of operation, sometimes rejecting external inputs and expelling the build up of internal conditions, whilst at other times, capturing external inputs and retaining internal conditions.
Typically, these variations can be dealt with through measures such as shading, shutters, overhangs and louvres that allow low- level winter sun to penetrate into the buildingbut block the higher summer sun.
Thermal mass can be used to store peak conditions during the day and then to vent them to the outside at night. Even deciduous trees can be beneficial, their leaves shading buildings from summer sun, but then allowing the solar radiation to penetrate through their bare branches during the winter.
Additional complexities can be introduced by internal heat loads such as people and ICT equipment and by occupancy patterns. In a 9 to 5 office with a moderate amount of installed equipmentit may be possible to use thermal mass to store heat loads during the day and then to vent these and cool the thermal mass when the building is unoccupied at night.
This may not be possible with a building such as a hospital that is continuously occupied. Considering all these issues early in the design processso that they can be incorporated into the fundamental design of the buildingrequires close working across the entire design team.
The historic model, where the architect designed a building and then a structural engineer made it stand up and then last of all a services engineer made it comfortable, is unlikely to achieve a satisfactory result.
Passive design measures can require occupant involvement, for example to open windowsturn out lights, adjust louvres and so on. This requires education so that occupants are able to understand the building and to operate it efficiently. The urban heat island effectis an effect found in urban environments where the predominance of hard, heat absorbing surfaces results in a higher ambient temperature than in rural environments.
It has been found that simply selecting lighter coloured materials that reflect solar radiation rather than absorbing it can significantly reduce urban temperatures and so the need for active systems to provide cooling.Passive design ‘Passive design’ is design that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home.
Passive design reduces or eliminates the need for auxiliary heating or cooling, which accounts for about 40% (or much more in some climates) of energy use in the average Australian home.
Learn how passive house windows reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by using a small amount of energy for their heating and cooling needs.
In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, Other creative solutions involve the use of reflecting surfaces to admit daylight into the interior of a building.
Window sections should be adequately sized, and to avoid over-illumination can be shielded with a Brise soleil.
Passive solar design principles have been recognized for decades and are on display in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solar Hemicycle designs, to cite one high-profile example.
Passive & Active Design CIBSE Building Simulations GroupCIBSE Building Simulations Group Peter A. Brown CEng, MBA October Global HSE Solutions started life as a Fire Engineering Company but has grown steadily to incorporate all aspects of Fire Safety Management and Health, Safety and Environmental Solutions..
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