The Importance Of A Sustainable Building

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Buildings are complex systems that have to fulfil many functions. They have to provide a healthy and comfortable indoor environment, must be energy efficient and ultimately must be sustainable (Boemi, Irulegi and Santamouris, 2016). However, over the years, the need to improve the energy efficiency of the building sector was given first priority. The main reason for this is the following. It is well known that the contribution of the building sector to the total energy consumption is significant. More specifically, buildings account for 40% of the final energy consumption within the European Union (EU Parliament, 2012). In the UK, the domestic sector contributed to the final energy consumption in 2014 b y 27% while the industrial sector contribution …show more content…
Figure 1.1 depicts the requirements that a sustainable building should fulfil in a hierarchy order. The requirements towards the bottom of the pyramid must be satisfied before the higher requirements can be attempted. Therefore, providing a healthy and comfortable indoor environment is a prerequisite to energy efficiency (Boemi, Irulegi and Santamouris, 2016). Similarly, EPBD clearly states that minimum energy performance targets must be met ensuring at the same time adequate indoor climate conditions (EU Parliament, 2002). Furthermore, indoor climate conditions and energy efficiency are mutually connected since the anticipated indoor climate parameters (such as temperature and ventilation rates) as well as the operation of the building will have a major impact on energy efficiency (BSI, 2007). Although up to now the goal of delivering high-performance buildings exhausts almost entirely on reducing energy reduction demand, it should be looked upon more holistically and include indoor environment quality as well (Hensen and Roberto, 2011).
An issue that is related to indoor environment quality is overheating. ‘Overheating is the term used to describe situations where the temperature inside a person’s home becomes uncomfortably or excessively warm’ (Zero Carbon Hub, 2016). Overheating becomes an important issue as it is argued that it affects potentially up to 20% of the housing
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In order to ensure adequate daylight levels school building regulations recommended a minimum daylight factor equal to 2% while they suggested daylight factors equal to 5% where possible. The designers focused solely on achieving this target by overlooking totally the possibility of overheating. This resulted in large window areas which led to overheating during summertime (Wu and Ng, 2003). This example highlights the importance that there is a need to integrate into the design of high energy efficient buildings a design strategy that will tackle efficiently the issue of

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