No matter how sleek or trendy a building looks, it’s all a waste if the inside isn’t comfortable. After all, a building’s purpose is, primarily, to be used by people!
Temperature control is arguably one of the most important parts of building design then, as without it, a building would lack a comfortable, controlled inner climate.
So how do architects accommodate this need? With so many different building styles and designs, one solution will not encompass all structures.
Air conditioning experts, Daikin, take a look a look at what measures architects can take to regulate the internal temperature of buildings.
Old tricks of the trade
Back in the day, most of our temperature control was restricted to how the building was designed. For example, deep overhangs and smaller windows could help reduce the amount of heat gained in a house’s interior. Of course, this wouldn’t work in every climate.
Another commonly-seen element of temperature regulation in buildings comes from the simple exterior — that is, painting the building or roof white in order to reflect light and heat in warmer countries. Some sources suggest this could lower extreme temperatures by up to 2 or 3°C. Could this become more widespread if temperatures continue to rise globally?
There’re a few natural solutions too, but again, they are rather area-specific. For example, a large tree close to a building would shade it in the summer and lose its leaves in the winter. But again, this wouldn’t work for all buildings, and certainly not for larger buildings and skyscrapers!
Modern buildings, modern problems
We’ve seen some truly outlandish architecture in recent years. The bubble-wrap look of the Eden Project’s domes in the UK, the Giant Bookshelf façade of the Kansas City Public Library in the US and The Crooked House in Poland spring to mind when thinking about such strange structures. It seems as if architects are trying to outdo each other when it comes to weird and wonderful modern buildings!
While many modern buildings aren’t always quite so peculiar in appearance, they do tend to share one trait among them – the challenge of adequate ventilation. According to Daikin, ventilation can pose a problem in many modern buildings as heightened environmental regulations require the use of elements such as double glazing and airtightness to help reduce the need for heating and cooling processes. This results in a building becoming poorly ventilated with no natural air flow through the structure.
At the M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City hotel, the problem was addressed by having a central air conditioning unit feeding ducted fan coil units, with the return flow via bathroom vents for the guest rooms. In public areas, a number of Daikin Heat Reclaim Ventilation Units are used to provide fresh air, balance temperature, and maintain humidity levels.
Of all modern buildings, supertall skyscrapers are surely the most demanding when it comes to temperature regulation. In layman’s terms, it wouldn’t be efficient to have the temperature control system start at the bottom and work its way up, nor start at the top and work its way down — in either scenario, one area is left under-serviced.
Industry Tap comments that the general plan for dealing with supertall structures is to think of the building as being divided into zones, which are then divided further into stories. Each of these zones would then have its own system, which is responsible for controlling the temperature for just that section.
Heatwaves and global warming
The world is becoming warmer, with prolonged heatwave conditions in 2018 across the world showing us just how important a comfortable temperature really is. The UK saw temperatures hitting highs of 35°C, with the top temperature recorded in Heathrow on 27th July, and over in Japan, Kumagaya sweltered in 41°C temperatures on 16th July.
In order to continue to build around the need for temperature regulation, our architects need to adapt their designs to suit.
How will architects continue to design buildings if the world is indeed set to become warmer? Comfort will always be a priority, and as seen above, there are plenty of options being explored and developed upon, both old and new.