A synergistic approach to the design of energy responsive office buildings
Ngo, Huy Sinh
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Buildings consume energy principally in the process of environmental control. During the nineteenth century, building services were simple, and they interacted with the exterior climate. Buildings were daylit; artificial lighting was provided by gas or oil lamps; cooling was by ventilation; and heating was by gas or steam or by open fires. However, during the early part of the twentieth century when fuel prices were low, new methods and new equipment for heating, cooling and lighting were developed. It seemed possible that a perfect, controllable interior environment could be provided at any time and place because buildings no longer needed to interact with the outdoor environment. This building design approach was readily accepted and became the standard environmental solution for buildings. The modern multi-story office building is the best example of a highly controlled and comfortable living and working environment. "Technological innovations such as mechanical air-conditioning, fluorescent lighting, and temperature and humidity control devices allowed for a climate-rejecting control approach to office buildings to become the standard design solution during the past few decades" (Ruck,1989,p.4). The climate-rejecting environmental-control approach excludes the direct influence of exterior climate on the interior environment and provides all services internally from controlled sources. Office buildings designed in this way no longer have to make any connection between their occupied space and the external environment. Many of them rely on sophisticated mechanical devices to maintain internal environmental comfort.