Posted 11 August 2011, by contentmaster, Contentmaster (Hub Pages), contentmaster.hubpages.com
In a new house design we may consider bioclimatic aspects in a more flexible way with no need to increase the cost and giving up design preferences, although sometimes conflicts may arise between what is preferred and what is convenient for correct thermal behavior. The owner has the last word, of course. The important point here is to know what will be the bioclimatic consequences of different design options. Usually, the architect will not be aware of bioclimatic performance, so the owner should actively participate in design decisions to achieve a certain bioclimatic behavior.
Consider the following steps in the bioclimatic house design process:
Climate. How is the climate of the location? Check out the list in know the climate and decide the problems that should be sorted out and in what order: cold in winter, hot in summer, winds, humidity, etc.
Environment. How is the land on which the house will be built? Have in mind that the location will be decisive in the bioclimatic behavior, even as much as the techniques used later in the house. Is there any slope? What orientation does it have? Will there be water and vegetation near the house? Will I modify the surroundings? Are there close buildings? Is there any other natural or artificial element that may act as a barrier for the wind or for the sun radiation?
Shape and orientation. Do I want and is it possible to design a house which length is on an east – west axis, with solar capture surfaces on the south façade?, if not, how much will be the deviation? Will it be a compact house are will there be wings, inlets and outlets? As you know, the more compact, the less thermal losses. Will there be a yard inside? What will be the roof design? Will its design allow a low resistance to dominant wind in winter, and a high resistant to dominant wind in summer? If there is a conflict, what will be the solution to take? How many floors will the house have?
Internal distribution. If there are more than one floor, will they be conveniently separated so as to avoid thermal air stratification? Which will be the most used spaces and rooms? Will they be in the most comfortable part of the house? Is the internal division appropriate to allow natural ventilation in summer?
Isolation and thermal mass. How much isolation will I use? (ask the architect you want a good isolation and special care with thermal bridges), how much thermal mass will the house have? What material will it be made of? Can I place it inside the isolation? How will I place it so that it captures solar energy entering through windows?
Relation with soil. Can the house be built directly on the soil? (ask your architect), Is there any problem (like humidity, for example)?, Can it be solved in a satisfactory manner? Am I interested in installing a buried pipes system (consider if the summer hot justifies this decision), Will there be a basement?, Will I use it to live in?, Will there be any buried or half – buried wall or part in the house? (if it is built on a slope, for example), What structural reinforcement and additional humidity protection do I need if it is the case? Is it very expensive?
Stopper rooms. Will I place attached spaces to the house (garage, workshop, attic)? What will its degree of occupation be? Where should they be placed to work as stopper rooms? Is the summer hot enough to justify a ventilated attic?
Passive solar capture. How much surface do I have for solar capture? How much of it will I use for this purpose (it depends on how cold winter is)? Consider the relation capture surface / house area. What kind of solar caption technique will I install (direct, half direct, indirect)? Are there possible obstacles to limit incoming solar radiation (trees, buildings, etc.)? What kind of glassing will I use (simple, double sheet, special)? Does glassing present any security problem? How can I solve it? What rooms will benefit from the solar radiation? Will there be problems of excessive solar light? How can it be solved? What will I use for nighttime isolation (shutters, curtains, panels, etc.)? What kind of additional heating will I install?
Winter infiltration. What is the main dominant wind direction in winter? What is its speed? If it is strong, are there natural barriers against it? Can they be set (fences, trees)? Will I design the house to be “aerodynamic” for this wind? What care will be taken to reduce infiltration? What is the location for kitchen and bathroom and how did I solve its ventilation?
Protection against solar radiation in summer. What is the condition for the south façade in summer? What shading elements will I install (wings, porch, shutters, awnings, etc.)? How is vegetation in front of this façade? Is there water? What are the conditions for east and west façades? Is there any stopper room attached? Is the wall in a light color? Is there any window? If this is the case, how will I protect it? Will I use “ventilated façades”? Will I use any evaporative cooling technique?
Ventilation in summer. Is the house correctly oriented to benefit from summer breezes? Has it got the appropriate openings on the façades and internal communication? Will I use any convective ventilation system? Will I use ventilated façades anywhere? Do I have cool air entrances from soil? How will I extract it? Will I convective ventilate the attic? Do I have yards to take advantage of them?
Other devices. Maybe now or later I will be wanting to install other supporting systems like solar collector for hot water, photovoltaic panels for electric generation, water harvesting, etc. If this is the case, the roof design is important to allow the installation of these devices at the minimum cost, and to reserve the necessary room inside or outside for the devices.
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