Charter Focus - Fall 2013 - page 11

Charter Focus | Fall 2013
do we determine comfort? Why do
we tend to dress to warmly in the
summer to off-set cool indoor air
temperatures, and find many indoor
climates too warm in the winter?
Trends in western culture continue
to demand warmer and warmer
indoor winter air temperatures. In
the past it was acceptable to keep
the thermostat much lower, and to
simply dress warmer in the winter
months. The same goes for the warm
summer months. We rely far too
much on mechanical systems to create
a comfortable indoor environment
especially in dry western climates
where passive cooling strategies are
easily adaptable. Natural ventilation
and nighttime flushes can significantly
reduce cooling load. By simply
creating air movement people are
more accepting of a larger range in
temperature variation. If we create
flexible spaces that take advantage of
our natural micro-climate, every space
becomes customizable.
Creating flexible adaptable spaces can
modify our behavioral patterns and
help us reconnect with our natural
environment and with each other.
Using passive systems allow buildings
to react to seasonal environmental
changes more effectively. Building
form follows function, working in
harmony with nature. Passive design
strategies were a key influence on
the design of The Olympic Village in
Vancouver. The indoor environmental
atmosphere was controllable by the
user through the use of operable
shading devices, natural ventilation,
and indoor / outdoor flexible spaces.
Natural daylighting concepts created
more inviting stair towers, exterior
corridors, and central courtyards that
all promoted a more active and social
lifestyle. Using natural ventilation
was essential in creating continuous
fresh air-flow, enhancing indoor air
To truly become leaders in our pursuit
of the 2030 challenge, we should look
to nature as our teacher to discover
new and innovative techniques that
can reduce our need to consume
energy. More and more people are
turning to sciences like biomimicre to
discover more effective ways to heat,
cool and generate electricity. Our
natural environment is our biggest
classroom and provides endless
learning opportunities. According
to the Biomimicre 3.8 Institute,
biomimicre is a new science that
studies nature’s models and attempts
to emulate these forms, processes,
systems and strategies to create new
innovative and sustainable solutions
for our world. It’s a research based
science focused on learning what we
can from nature, not what we can
extract from it. The Eastgate Centre
in Harare, Zimbabwe used biomimicre
principals to develop the nation’s most
energy efficient office and shopping
complex, using less than 10% of the
energy of a conventional building
its size. The remarkable design was
inspired by indigenous Zimbabwean
masonry and the self-cooling mounds
of the African termites.
There are many resources available
to help your team begin to establish
sustainable energy goals. A building
designed in harmony with nature
using passive design strategies
can become an inspiration and an
example to your students on how
to live sustainably. It requires an
active participation in modifying
your built environment to adapt to
current climatic conditions, promotes
a new awareness and appreciation
of nature and science, modifies
conventional behavioral patterns
dealing with the notion of comfort,
and will significantly reduce energy
consumption ultimately leaving
behind zero carbon footprint.
Buddy Poppitt is a Principal at Hangar 41
architectural firm.
Mary Lynn Grover
Metro-North | 303-548-7439
Teresa Jackson
West K-5 | 970-290-0434
West 6-12 | 720-431-1130
Leah LoScudo
614-430-4687 |
Adam Palmese
Intervention, Supplemental & Early Childhood
720-355-2868 |
MK 13 M 00575
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