A mission for the new millennium

A decade of environmental research on a series of projects ranging from the New Parliamentary Building at Westminster (see Figure 14.1) to a new Conference Facility at the Earth Centre, Doncaster (see Figure 14.2) has generated a strategy capable of producing a wide range of carbon-neutral buildings able to survive in both polluted inner city sites and high occupation densities in more suburban locations.

A carbon-neutral building produces no overall CO2 emissions to the atmosphere when energy flows are analysed over a typical year. Fossil fuel use is offset by renewable energy harvested by the building envelope -often using the national grid as a storage device enabling excess electrical

Figure 14.2

Aerial view of the new Conference Building at the Earth Centre, Doncaster (Architect: Bill Dunster Architects)

Figure 14.2

Aerial view of the new Conference Building at the Earth Centre, Doncaster (Architect: Bill Dunster Architects)

power to be exported to other sites. It is important that design teams try to achieve an overall carbon-neutral brief for each new project - as the UK building fabric is replaced at around 1.5% per annum, it is technically possible to achieve near carbon-neutral UK cities by the end of the next century using existing technology.

This work suggested that it is important to integrate a number of different renewable energy harvesting techniques, carefully reconciling the often conflicting parameters of daylight, passive solar gain, heat loss through the building skin, ventilation, and of course contact with the outside world. Photovoltaics are an important new technology enabling clean solar electricity to be generated in urban areas, but their use can only be justified if it is fully integrated with all the other climate modifying devices that are all competing for the same rays of sunlight. This study shows how some of these devices have been incorporated in buildings I have worked on, and tries to define the key design tools available to an architect wishing to realise a zero emissions urban workplace.

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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