Principles and tools for bioclimatic building design - an applied review and analysis in cold climates
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The comparison between climate and comfort represents a fundamental step for the implementation of energy efficiency in buildings. It determines the design strategies that are best suited for a specific climatic context, as well as the level of architectural complexity. In cold climatic contexts, this would suggest the use of compact shapes and extremely airtight and well-insulated envelopes, in order to minimize heat losses. However, when combined with high internal gains, these measures might cause overheating problems in the warm and transitional seasons. That is especially the case of office buildings, where mechanical cooling is included as default even in cold climates (Norway), drastically increasing their energy use. It is therefore becoming a necessity to consider there the adoption of passive strategies for cooling, traditionally identified with warmer climates. The aim of this paper is first to revise the existing methods and tools for bioclimatic building design, and then reflect on how these could be applied to assess the suitability of different passive strategies in relevant building cases. The first part of this research will be conducted through literature review. The second part will analyse relevant buildings in cold climates with especial focus on passive design, to reflect on how they could have been affected by the use of these bioclimatic building design tools.