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Definition of Bioclimatic Architecture

Definition of bioclimatic architecture

Bioclimatic architecture is a type of ecological construction in which natural elements of the place are used. Build­ing designs that take into account climate and environmental conditions to achieve thermally efficient buildings.

The bioclimatic concept uses available natural resources in a building design (sun, vegetation, rain, wind, etc.). It is adapted and based on the local climate, so passive solar energy plays a fundamental role.

The bioclimatic approach is related to the principle of self-sufficiency. It aims to reduce the environmental impact caused by fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

Homes built using traditional architecture generate gas and CO2 emissions from air conditioning and heating systems. These emissions harm air quality and promote climate change and the greenhouse effect.

We must adapt the location and orientation in bioclimatic designs to different climatic conditions. The aim is to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption using passive systems. Thermal comfort and energy savings are the most important goals.

What Is the Goal of Bioclimatic Architecture?

The goal is the control of the internal microclimate with passive design strategies. These strategies minimize mechanical systems' use and maximize heat exchanges' efficiency between the building and the environment.

In general, in temperate climate regions, there are three thermal phases:

  • Winter: solar radiation should be encouraged on the walls and windows to warm the interior. The main objective is to reduce the energy consumption of heating.

  • Summer: it is necessary to protect the building from solar radiation with shade systems. It is intended to have high thermal inertia and favor the natural ventilation of the building. The goal is to reduce the energy consumption of air conditioners.

  • Mid Season - Requires the combination of heating and cooling solutions.

Types of Energy Capture in Bioclimatic Architecture

We can distinguish three types of energy capture in bioclimatic architecture: direct capture, indirect capture, and separate capture.

1. Direct Collection

Passive direct capture systems are architectural systems that represent immediate and easy use.

An example of direct capture is homes oriented in such a way that they capture solar energy from the sun directly. A proper design in passive solar energy systems will take advantage of natural lighting.

Direct systems must also include components to control:

  1. The energy losses of winter nights

  2. The temperature rises in summer.

2. Indirect Collection

Passive, indirect capture systems use a sensor to conduct the heat into the cabin's interior integrated within its structure.

The Trombe wall is a glass on top of a solid matt black wall. It acts as a storage tank and heat diffuser inside the house that represents significant energy savings.

However, in hot climates, the problems with excess heat that are suffered in summer must be taken into account. We can solve these problems by using ailerons or umbrellas that keep the wall in the shade.

Another system is to replace a wall with black metal drums filled with water or the ceiling with black collectors. These elements are isolated from the outside. In both cases, the water tanks would be heated during the day.

3. Separate Collection

Passive separate collection systems conduct thermal energy into the interior of the passenger compartment. These systems are separated from the home but not far away.

In the case where they were far away, they could not be called passive solar energy systems. In this case, we would need a forced transport - it is called solar air heaters.

In this system, solar radiation is collected in a glass chamber. This chamber can be used as an agricultural greenhouse, separated from the house by a collecting surface.

What Kind of Renewable Energies Are Used?

The primary source of energy is passive solar energy. However, people tend to install other sources of renewable energy, as well.

The renewable energy sources most used in a bioclimatic building are eolic energy, photovoltaic solar energy, solar thermal energy, and geothermal energy.

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Published: February 5, 2019
Last review: March 28, 2021