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What is bioclimatic architecture

Buildings, nowadays, are the biggest consumers of energy in our cities. In

Spain it represents more than a quarter of total consumption of energy.
This situation has led us to need to reduce our energy consumption, and
for this reason we need to fulfill bioclimatic criteria to help us to achieve
Bioclimatic architecture is defined as an architecture which has a
connection with nature, it is about a building that takes into account the
climate and environmental conditions to favor thermal comfort inside. This
architecture seeks perfect cohesion between design and natural elements
(such as the sun, wind, rain and vegetation), leading us to an optimization
of resources. The main principles of this architecture are:
-The consideration of the weather, hydrography and ecosystems of the
environment in which buildings are built for maximum performance with
the least impact.
-The efficacy and moderation in the use of construction materials, giving
priority to low energy content compared to high energy.
-The reduction of energy consumption for heating, cooling, lighting and
equipment, covering the remainder of the claim with renewable energy
-The minimization of the building overall energy balance, covering the
design, construction, use and end of its life.
-The fulfillment of requirements of hygrothermal comfort, safety, lighting
and occupancy of buildings.
Looking through history we can see how lots of architecture buildings
work according to these principles. The orientation of the windows of the
houses to the south for a better use of light and solar heat, or the lining of
the Andalusian village houses with thermal mass materials like adobe with
a layer of soil and lime to get a micro-climate inside would be two
examples of historic architecture according to bioclimatic principles.
And then the question is, why do not we build according to these
principles? Is it expensive?. It is proved that in a long-term bioclimatic
architecture is profitable, if we look at the bills we have to pay, coupled
with rising energy prices due to the shortage of natural resources a
building can justify the investment in five years. The society has to begin
to become aware of that the only way to ensure our future is to optimize
our consumption so that we respect the environment and achieve the
desired sustainability.Due to new European legislation, in 2020 the energy
consumption of buildings has to be reduced to one third of the current and
we just will get this if we build based on these principles and adapting
existing buildings.

Bioclimatic design principles

Bioclimatic design aiming at the construction of buildings that are in

harmony with the natural surroundings and local climate, ensuring
conditions of thermal comfort inside. The bioclimatic design of the
buildings serves four main objectives:
A. Saving conventional energy. Thrift in oil consumption through renewable
energy sources (RES), that leads to energy saving.
B. Saving money. Using inexpensive solar energy for heating and / or cool
wind for cooling. This is an economic challenge resulting in cutting down
heating and cooling expenses by 50%, possibly more.
C. Protection of the environment. Less usage of fossil fuels and electricity
reduces the waste which harms the environment and cause air pollution.
D. Improvement of the indoor living conditions. Bioclimatic design ensures
thermal comfort and air-quality thus creating a healthy living environment.
Bioclimatic principles design
The following diagram shows a section of a bioclimatic building shell and
its function during winter and summer period.
The design of the building must comply with the following bioclimatic
principles of operation:
The building as a natural solar collector in winter:
1. The proper location of the building - Orientation (the largest face of the
house facing SOUTH)
2. Shape of the building,
3. Size of the openings are depended on the orientation of the building,
Interior design according to bioclimatic principles of orientation
The building serving as a heat trap:
1. Protection from cold winds,
2. Thermal protection - insulation
The building serving as a heat storage:
1. Thermal mass - heat capacity
The building serving as a natural cooling trap / storage:

Sun protection of the building and its openings,

Color and texture of the outer surfaces,
Sufficiency of thermal mass,
Thermal protection insulation,
Natural ventilation,
Outgoing heat radiation during night,