Investigating The Level of Application/Education of Passive/Natural Systems in the Design of Sustainable Buildings in the US
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The purpose of this research is to examine the degree of adoption and education of the concepts of natural systems for heating, cooling, and lighting (i.e., passive systems) versus artificial/mechanical systems (i.e., active systems) in the design of sustainable buildings by practitioners and educators. In addition, this research investigates the variables that may increase/reduce the application of these systems in architectural designs. Natural systems use renewable energies or ambient conditions, while mechanical systems often use non-renewable energies to heat, cool, ventilate, and illuminate buildings. Although an extensive list of publications about natural systems exist, there are very few studies about the approaches/tools used by professionals for the design of natural systems in sustainable buildings. This research seeks to fill this gap through three methodologies, including: a content analysis, a case study, and a survey questionnaire to practitioners/educators. The findings show that there is a low percentage of the application of passive/natural systems in architecture design in the US. To promote the application of passive systems, the clients’ desire/collaboration, building code/rating systems, and simulation tools for passive design are the most influential factors according to a survey of the practitioners in the US. The findings also indicate that the education of passive/natural systems in the US architecture schools are mainly focused on discussions at the conceptual level, which iii needs to be further developed to include the teaching of the simulation of these systems as well. Overall, the findings suggest that investment in several areas can facilitate the application of passive systems in the US, which include: better educational focus on the simulation/calculation of passive systems; stronger connection between academia and the building industry focused on passive design; providing user-friendly tools for the design of passive systems; better collaboration between architects, clients, and engineers; reducing the work experience gap between retiring faulty and new faculty; better focus on passive design in integrated design studios; and strong inclusion of passive systems in building codes/rating systems. The long term goal of this study is to pave the way for reducing a building’s energy consumption by shifting society’s dependency from non-renewable energies to renewable energies.
Azizkhani, Mehdi (2019). Investigating The Level of Application/Education of Passive/Natural Systems in the Design of Sustainable Buildings in the US. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from