In our current age, sustainability is a key issue in the development of society, economy and environment. It is widely discussed that it is necessary to achieve a balance between the needs of people, business and nature. To maintain and possibly improve the built-up world in an ecological sense is a worldwide challenge for the current and next generation of architects, designers, technicians, public servants and decisionmakers on every level (Kristinsson, 2012). Health nature and human delight are important factors in creating new manmade living environment-city, neighbourhood and building-but these form no common basis for design. The building sector plays a significant role in the overall energy consumption, consuming over one-third of the global final energy consumption. Most of the energy is for the provision of lighting, heating, cooling and air conditioning. As human society develops, the energy demand of buildings could continuously increase globally. Therefore, reducing the energy consumption in the building sector is an important research topic. After decades of effort, to improve the efficiency of energy systems and to develop clean and new energy, architects, engineers and researchers have also tried to develop passive ways to reduce the energy consumption of buildings and to provide a comfortable living environment for occupants. More attention is paid to vernacular buildings in order to get inspiration for passive cooling and heating techniques.
Passive cooling for thermal comfort in summer is a big issue for low-energy building design, and has received more attention from designers and researchers in recent years. An important reason is global and local climate change, which increases the ambient temperature and the corresponding number of cooling degree days. In addition, because of the developing economy, improvement of people’s living standards, and globalisation of modernist architecture1, the energy needs of buildings have increased rapidly. In particular, cooling the building is challenge, especially in countries where few resources are available. Passive cooling techniques are based on the application of solar and heating control systems, dissipation of the excess heat into low-temperature natural sinks and the amortisation of the heat surplus through the use of additional thermal mass in the buildings (Santamouris & Asimakopoulos, 1996). The passive mode for cooling of buildings largely depends on the design of urban and building forms. Designers have proposed many passive design strategies to improve the thermal environment for summer comfort. Urban morphology, building form (shape) and building components are normally the focuses in these studies. However, the significance of building spatial configuration for passive cooling and occupants’ thermal comfort in summer has not been studied sufficiently. Space is the empty part of the building, but its volume is important for the activities of occupants. It is the volume that people live in with various physical and psychological sensations. In his Taoist classics “Tao Te Ching”, the great Chinese thinker, Lao Tzu (571 BC - 471 BC) described building space as: “By cutting out the doors and windows we built a house and on that which is non-existent (on the empty space within) depends the house’s utility”. An architect usually thinks and designs in squares and cubic metres, lines, areas, volumes, luminance differences (Kristinsson, 2012). Architects define the general spatial structures of buildings mainly in the early design stages, and the spatial properties, the connection of the spaces and the boundary conditions of them are significant for the building performance and thermal sensation of occupants. What is the contribution of spatial design for passive cooling? Can we achieve more a comfortable living environment through the adjustment of the spatial configuration? In this dissertation, the objects studied for passive cooling will be spatially configured instead of the urban morphology, building form (shape) and building component. The relationship between spatial configuration and thermal summer comfort will be clarified and a potential design method will be proposed for the spatial analysis for passive cooling.
Borong, L., Gang, T., Peng, W., Ling, S., Yingxin, Z., & Guangkui, Z. (2004). Study on the thermal performance of the Chinese traditional vernacular dwellings in Summer. Energy and Buildings, 36(1), 73-79. doi: 10.1016/s0378-7788(03)00090-2
Bouillot, J. (2008). Climatic design of vernacular housing in different provinces of China. Journal of Environmental Management, 87(2), 287-299. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2006.10.029
Coch, H. (1998). Bioclimatism in vernacular architecture. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2(1-2), 67-87.
Gou, S., Li, Z., Zhao, Q., Nik, V. M., & Scartezzini, J.-L. (2015). Climate responsive strategies of traditional dwellings located in an ancient village in hot summer and cold winter region of China. Building and Environment, 86, 151-165. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2014.12.003
Hiyama, K., & Glicksman, L. (2015). Preliminary design method for naturally ventilated buildings using target air change rate and natural ventilation potential maps in the United States. Energy, 89, 655-666. doi: 10.1016/j.energy.2015.06.026
Hyde, R. (Ed.). (2008). Bioclimatic housing: innovative designs for warm climates. London: Earthscan.
IEA. (2017). Energy Technology Perspectives 2017 (Publication no. www.iea.org/etp/etp2017). from OECD/IEA
Kristinsson, J. (2012). Integrated Sustainable Design. Delft/Deventer, the Netherlands: Delftdigitalpress.
Liu, J., Wang, L., Yoshino, Y., & Liu, Y. (2011). The thermal mechanism of warm in winter and cool in summer in China traditional vernacular dwellings. Building and Environment, 46(8), 1709-1715. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2011.02.012
Meir, I., & Roaf, S. (2003). Between Scylla and Charibdis: In search of the suatainable design paradigm between vernacular and high-tech. Paper presented at the PLEA, Santiago, Chile.
National Bureau of Statistics of China. (2017). National Data: Annual Report from National Bureau of Statistics of China http://www.stats.gov.cn/english/Statisticaldata/AnnualData/
Omer, A. M. (2008). Energy, environment and sustainable development. [Review]. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 12(9), 2265-2300. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2007.05.001
Santamouris, M. (2016). Cooling the buildings – past, present and future. Energy and Buildings, 128, 617-638. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.07.034
Santamouris, M., & Asimakopoulos, D. (1996). Passive cooling of buildings. London: James and James
Singh, M. K., Mahapatra, S., & Atreya, S. K. (2009). Bioclimatism and vernacular architecture of north-east India. Building and Environment, 44(5), 878-888. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2008.06.008
Soflaei, F., Shokouhian, M., & Zhu, W. (2017). Socio-environmental sustainability in traditional courtyard houses of Iran and China. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 69, 1147-1169. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2016.09.130
Stocker, T. F., Qin, D., Plattner, G.-K., Tignor, M., Allen, S. K., Boschung, J., . . . Midgley, P. M. (2013). Climate change 2013: The physical science basis: Cambridge University Press Cambridge.
Ürge-Vorsatz, D., Cabeza, L. F., Serrano, S., Barreneche, C., & Petrichenko, K. (2015). Heating and cooling energy trends and drivers in buildings. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 41, 85-98. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2014.08.039
Williams, D. E. (2007). Sustainable Design- Ecology,Architecture,and Planning. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Yi, Y. K., & Malkawi, A. M. (2012). Site-specific optimal energy form generation based on hierarchical geometry relation. Automation in Construction, 26, 77-91. doi: 10.1016/j.autcon.2012.05.004
You, Q., Fraedrich, K., Sielmann, F., Min, J., Kang, S., Ji, Z., . . . Ren, G. (2014). Present and projected degree days in China from observation, reanalysis and simulations. Climate dynamics, 43(5-6), 1449-1462.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.