When facing increasing pressures of housing density, affordability and sustainability, leading architects and designers look to the climate — and working with it.
It’s called passive design.
In Australia, each of our main climate zones will have a set of climatic characteristics that will determine their own design response.
As a general rule: “You need to be able to design a building that allows you to open up and ventilate in the warmer months — or close right down if needed! Conversely in winter, you want to make sure you are getting enough sunlight and that it is able to be retained to keep you warm,” Pidcock said.
“It’s about having flexible strategies in place to deal with changing temperatures, winds and conditions.”
On how to get there
Sustainable passive design begins from inception.
1. Work with the sun
According to Pidcock, step one involves orienting a building to optimise solar benefits.
“Capture the sun in winter and keep it out in summer,” Pidcock said.
“In Australia, we want buildings to face north — that’s where the sun comes from. In winter, the sun is low in the sky and can come deeper into your building. In summer, it is very high, so an eave or some form of sun protection will keep it out.”
To do this, each facade must be managed differently.
2. Design a suitable building envelope
We’re talking your floor, walls, roof, windows and doors. These need to work well for the climate that you’re in.
3. Consider your ‘thermal mass’
This all comes down to the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy.
Take a brick house in an Aussie summer.
“It is much cooler than a timber house. The thermal mass is protected from the sun and absorbs heat from the air which helps to moderate it,” Pidcock said.
“In winter, if your house is properly insulated from the outside, your house can take warmth and radiate it later.”
4. How’s your landscaping?
Ever wondered through a tree-lined street and felt instant zen? Whilst they not only look more attractive, trees can shade black roads and change the temperature of a suburb my several degrees.
In the same way, it can bring some well-needed natural shading or wind protection to your home.
“Work with landscaping. This may be deciduous trees, vines or other plants that can help to channel or stop winds or provide shading — and it is much more attractive than any built form.”
On rethinking affordability
The question becomes one of quantity over quality.
“I think we can all live good lives in smaller, efficient buildings. If they are well-designed, they will borrow from the outside space, and that will be enough.”
Source By: Internet