In an increasingly hotter world, what policies, designs, technologies & behaviours can provide thermal adequacy for coolth?
Buildings and cities have become highly dependent on air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation. Without significant intervention demand for air-conditioning (AC) is projected to rise by 700% by 2050. The implications of an unsustainable increase in cooling demand are being recognised in many countries around the world.
Recent discussions about ‘build back better’ after the Covid-19 pandemic afford an opportunity to reconsider many contemporary practices in the built environment: health and wellbeing, thermal comfort and the agency of building occupants, adaptation to climate change, energy use and environmental impacts, economics and equity, social expectations and demographics, design and innovation, thermal characteristics of buildings and cities. In addition, many countries have stipulated that new buildings must be carbon neutral. Climate change will create an increasingly warmer world – impacting on summer overheating in buildings. This is an urgent concern for both mitigation and adaptation: how can thermal comfort be provided during hotter summers without the GHG emissions? ‘Conventional’ air conditioning will soon be technologically redundant. Can our cities and buildings be designed to have little or no mechanical intervention?
This special issue explores alternative approaches to providing thermal comfort and ventilation in different climatic zones across the world at the scales of building, neighbourhood and city. It considers the implications of these alternatives across a range of issues: health, wellbeing, air quality and heat stress; technical / design solutions; social expectations and practices; climate change; policy and regulation; supply chain and procurement; education and training. It includes a range of disciplines: geography, sociology, anthropology, behavioural sciences, architecture, engineering, public health, economics, energy and environmental assessment.
Collectively the papers in this special issue describe a range of viable approaches to ‘alternatives to air-conditioning’ and contribute to an understanding of the opportunities for better informed practice and policy. These alternatives embrace much more than a technological issue: they require holistic design thinking, and include social aspects (expectations, behaviours, practices).
However, the special issue reveals a number of significant gaps which are discussed in the editorial. New pathways to successfully implement alternatives to air conditioning need to be led by policy and regulation, as well as new business models in creating market demand. In this transition to a low carbon future the questions are not just ‘What?’ and ‘Why?’, but primarily ‘How?’. A critical issue will be redefining professional practices, design decision processes, performance standards and capabilities for designing for performance and optimisation processes.
Alternatives to air-conditioning: policies, design, technologies, behaviours (editorial)
B. Ford, D. Mumovic & R. Rawal
Living with air-conditioning:
experiences in Dubai, Chongqing and London
N. Murtagh, S. Badi, Y. Shi, S. Wei & W. Yu
air-conditioning: thermal comfort evaluations
M. Luo, H. Zhang, Z. Wang, E. Arens, W. Chen, F. S. Bauman & P. Raftery
air filtration: optimising indoor air quality and energy
E. Bellas & D. Lucina
overheating in UK homes: is there a safe haven?
P. Drury, S. Watson & K. Lomas
and passive cooling: overheating and air quality in primary schools
D. Grassie, Y. Schwartz, P. Symonds, I. Korolija, A. Mavrogianni & D. Mumovic
Integrating low energy cooling and ventilation strategies in
M. J. Cook, Y. Shukla, R. Rawal, C. Angelopoulos, L. Caruggi-de-Faria, D. Loveday, E. Spentzou & J. Patel
mass for passive cooling and ventilation: adaptive comfort limits, ideal
quantities, embodied carbon
T. de Toldi, S. Craig & L. Sushama
assessment in Passivhaus dwellings: the influence of prediction tools
V. L. Goncalves, V. Costanzo, K. Fabbri & T. Rakha
behaviour and energy: geothermal air-conditioning in a residential development
L. Thomas, A. Woods, R. Powles, P. Kalali & S. Wilkinson
approach to delivering safe, sustainable surgical theatre environments
C. A. Short, A. W. Woods, L. Drumright, R. Zia & N. Mingotti
in New Zealand: power and policy
H. Byrd, S. Matthewman & E. Rasheed
Alternatives to air-conditioning: policies, design, technologies, behaviours [editorial]
B Ford, D Mumovic & R Rawal
Benchmarking energy performance: indicators and models for Dutch housing associations
H S van der Bent, H J Visscher, A Meijer & N Mouter
Emissions from a net-zero building in India: life cycle assessment
M Jain & R Rawal
Lack of adaptability in Brazilian social housing: impacts on residents
S B Villa, P B Vasconcellos, K C R de Bortoli & L B de Araujo
Participation in domestic energy retrofit programmes: key spatio- temporal drivers
E Mohareb, A Gillich & D Bristow
Embodied carbon of concrete in buildings, Part 2: are the messages accurate?
A Moncaster, T Malmqvist, T Forman, F Pomponi & J Anderson
An alternative approach to delivering safe, sustainable surgical theatre environments
C A Short, A W Woods, L Drumright, R Zia & N Mingotti
Integrating low energy cooling & ventilation strategies in Indian residences
M J Cook, Y Shukla, R Rawal, C Angelopoulos, L Caruggi-De-Faria, D Loveday, E Spentzou, & J Patel
Balconies as adaptable spaces in apartment housing
T Peters & S Masoudinejad
Residential geothermal air-conditioning: inhabitants’ comfort, behaviour and energy use
L Thomas, A Woods, R Powles, P Kalali, & S Wilkinson
Energy retrofit and passive cooling: overheating and air quality in primary schools
D Grassie, Y Schwartz, P Symonds, I Korolija, A Mavrogianni & D Mumovic
Outdoor PM2.5 air filtration: optimising indoor air quality and energy
E Belias & D Licina
Architects’ ‘enforced togetherness’: new design affordances of the home
E Marco, M Tahsiri, D Sinnett & S Oliveira
Overheating assessment in Passivhaus dwellings: the influence of prediction tools
V L Goncalves, V Costanzo, K Fabbri & T Rakha
The use of apartment balconies: context, design & social norms
M Smektała & M Baborska-Narożny
Sharing a home under lockdown in London
F Blanc & K Scanlon
Projected climate data for building design: barriers to use
P Rastogi, A Laxo, L Cecil &D Overbey
Residents’ views on adaptable housing: a virtual reality-based study
J Tarpio & S Huuhka
Technological transitions in climate control: lessons from the House of Lords
Internal thermal mass for passive cooling and ventilation: adaptive comfort limits, ideal quantities, embodied carbon
T de Toldi, S Craig & L Sushama
Understanding air-conditioned lives: qualitative insights from Doha
Living with air-conditioning: experiences in Dubai, Chongqing & London
N Murtagh, S Badi, Y Shi, S Wei, W Yu
Air-conditioning in New Zealand: power and policy
H Byrd, S Matthewman & E Rasheed
Summertime overheating in UK homes: is there a safe haven?
P Drury, S Watson & K J Lomas
The former Swiss 'Impulse programme' was a successful response to the 1970s energy crisis. It provides important lessons for today’s climate emergency about what governments, industry and academia can do to create a successful transition within the construction industry. Niklaus Kohler and Kurt Meier (both former members of the Construction and Energy Impulse programmes) reflect on key lessons for today about its implementation and how to sustain change over the short and long term.
The first annual festival of the New European Bauhaus – a cultural initiative of Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission) – took place in Brussels 9 – 12 June 2022. This ambitious programme and its recent festival recognises the built environment's centrality to creating climate neutrality, quality of life and social equity. Matti Kuittinen (Aalto University, coordinator of the Nordic Bauhaus programme) reflects on the festival, summarises its takeaways and applauds the mainstreaming of the New European Bauhaus.