Using Bioclimatic Design for Developing Energy-Efficient Buildings

Makati City, Philippines, August 22, 2014 --( Much has been changed and improved in real estate development in the past ten years. New technology has brought the industry a lot of advantages when it comes to designing a building. The advent of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software have greatly helped designers and architects design better buildings in terms of functionality and durability.

Today, developing eco-friendly buildings are becoming more common, mainly due to the effects of and public concern on climate change. Buildings consume large amounts of energy which results in increased carbon emissions harmful to the environment. It is for this reason that more and more architects and developers are now creating buildings that reduce impact on the environment.

However, the development of green buildings require different methods and applications, especially when it comes to designing energy efficient buildings. Construction of energy efficient buildings usually involve bioclimatic architecture.

Bioclimatic Architecture
In bioclimatic architecture, the shape and orientation of the building as well as the local climate, topography and existing landscape are taken into consideration during the design process. Passive cooling, heating and lighting techniques are also applied.

Bioclimatic design adapts to the environmental conditions of the location rather than work against it. The use of thermal insulation, renewable energy, reflective surfaces and colors for shading are just some of the passive heating, cooling and lighting techniques applied in bioclimatic architecture. Seamless integration and operation of these techniques will result in:

· reduced energy consumption;
· building sustainability;
· lower environmental impact;
· optimum comfort for the occupants of the building.

Performance-based Tools for Energy Efficiency
There are various software available in the market today that designers and architects use when building eco-friendly buildings. Performance-based tools, in particular, are used to analyze local environments to create energy-efficient buildings. EnergyPlus, Awnshade, ParaSol, and SunPath are just some of the software that can be used for solar climate analysis. For analyzing airflow and ventilation, FLOVENT, LoopDA, UrbaWind, and Virtualwind software can be used.

Using these tools enable developers and architects to come up with designs that will make buildings more energy-efficient and sustainable.

In recent years, countries such as Singapore and Australia have adapted bioclimatic architecture in constructing sustainable buildings. Melbourne’s Council House No. 2 (CH2) was constructed with energy efficiency in mind, basing the design on local climate and weather patterns. Singapore’s ArtScience Museum, on the other hand, uses passive lighting techniques and a rainwater collection system.

Developing countries such as Vietnam and China have also started embracing this concept. In the Philippines, bioclimatic architecture is starting to catch on as well. One of the country’s pioneers in this concept is Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp. (ITPI), a Filipino-Italian company that specializes in sustainable development and design. Its initial project, Primavera Residences, is a fine example of an energy-efficient building.

Primavera Residences is an eco-friendly, mixed-use development located in Cagayan de Oro in the northern part of Mindanao, Philippines. The building makes use of passive cooling techniques to reduce energy consumption. Its façade is fitted with brise soleil shades to protect the windows from the intense heat of the sun during the hottest part of the day. The building also has an inner courtyard that enhances natural airflow within. The courtyard acts as a natural chimney where cool air flows naturally from the ground but expels warm, stale air through the roof. Because of these passive cooling features, the use of air-conditioners is minimized and energy consumption of the building is reduced by up to 20%.

Primavera Residences will also have energy-producing features as its roof is soon to be equipped with photovoltaic solar panels to produce its own energy to power the building’s common areas.

There are many other buildings in the world today that are built to be energy efficient. Whether developers do it to help mitigate climate change, reduce maintenance costs, or simply comply with building regulations, bioclimatic architecture is a great design process that benefits the developer, user and the environment.
Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp.
Weena Carullo
+63 2 893 0328