[Sbse] Fwd: Climatic design in Arab world and the questions you posed

Bill Bordass bill at bordass.com
Wed Apr 7 10:18:05 PDT 2021


Messages below forwarded without attachments on as these were not accepted by the server, but got through to Nina, Sue and Mark.

Flexibility and adaptability - the Killer variables
can be downloaded here

Building Performance for the Responsible Workplace (1993) I can send anyone who would like it.

With good wishes


Begin forwarded message:

From: William Bordass <bill at bordass.com<mailto:bill at bordass.com>>
Subject: Re: [Sbse] Climatic design in Arab world and the questions you posed
Date: 7 April 2021 at 15:43:16 BST
To: "Nina Baird, PhD" <nbaird at cmu.edu<mailto:nbaird at cmu.edu>>
Cc: Susan Roaf <s.roaf at btinternet.com<mailto:s.roaf at btinternet.com>>, SBSE <sbse at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>>, mdekay at utk.edu<mailto:mdekay at utk.edu>

Dear Nina

See below.

A couple of elderly papers also attached.

With good wishes


On 7 Apr 2021, at 14:33, Nina Baird, PhD <nbaird at cmu.edu<mailto:nbaird at cmu.edu>> wrote:

Sue --and other SBSE listserv readers--

I'd welcome a copy of your Closing the Loop: benchmarks for Sustainable

Related to the questions you posed and, to some extent, to Mark's original request, here are a couple of related questions:

How much does climate drive comfort within a building?
Comfort levels are both physiologically and sociologically determined, so expectations can differ substantially. Controlled environments also tend to tighten people’s tolerance levels. So a low-energy approach is more about avoiding crises of discomfort, rather than providing comfort. Fergus Nicol has of course done a lot on occupant satisfaction in hot climates.

One of my students studying urban heat island in 100+ cities in India and the US said that the most dense city in India has a population density 16x that of New York City.  And there's a comparison of FAR or FSI in Manhattan and Mumbai<https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/As-maximum-as-it-gets/article12677704.ece__;!!JYXjzlvb!339iogjtL1kzwbYcvwNJdXgfVJpN8fSGzBR2Hmb__-fINTlwgiw6wOoHOfOwIw$> that shows that even if floor area ratio may look similar or even higher in Manhattan, the floor area per person is far greater in Mumbai.  This suggests that in Mumbai and other locations with high urban and floor area density, design opportunities and strategies to support comfort indoors are likely to be different than those in far less densely populated locations.
Yes, and expectations differ, particularly for different slices of the population too. Applying Western standards does not work - far too high an energy requirement.

If we set a building lifespan for operating energy measurement, how might it influence or be related to lifespan designed to preserve embodied energy and carbon?  One of my students from Jakarta told me that a 10-yr lifespan would not be unusual there since rapid growth makes land values skyrocket so building owners/developers demolish existing buildings to create something taller/with more floor area.  He said this in reaction to the 60-year lifespan assumed in a LEED credit for lifecycle assessment.
Yes, buildings are often demolished well before their so-called 60 year lifespan, typically for four reasons: technical failure (so try to keep things simple and robust), functional obsolescence (so make things robust and adaptable), fashion (so hang on until the pendulum swings back), or profit (they can be replaced by higher-density buildings - this applies in London too, where some office buildings have been demolished after as little as ten years). For short-life scenarios, you don’t want to demolish but to relocate or re-purpose.

Maybe we should label the operating energy evaluation period something other than "lifespan?"   To follow the global rating system thread I mentioned earlier, there are some rating systems that attempt to preserve embodied energy where development is rapid, e.g., Abu Dhabi's Pearl rating system provides a credit that encourages a structure that would allow more stories to be added and dimensional characteristics that would allow the building to be adapted to new uses, and another credit that encourages design for disassembly.

Hong Kong's Beam Plus contains similar ideas.  Recently and for different reasons, the NYTimes recently promoted similar considerations<https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/23/business/as-buildings-life-spans-shrink-developers-try-to-adjust.html?smid=em-share__;!!JYXjzlvb!339iogjtL1kzwbYcvwNJdXgfVJpN8fSGzBR2Hmb__-fINTlwgiw6wOqlYbLoOw$>.  I think both strategies--evaluating  the persistence of effective operating energy performance and promoting preservation of embodied energy/carbon--are important for overall sustainable design.

Hope to see others' ideas.


Message: 2
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2021 12:25:40 +0100 (BST)
From: Susan Roaf <s.roaf at btinternet.com<mailto:s.roaf at btinternet.com>>
To: "Nina Baird, PhD" <nbaird at cmu.edu<mailto:nbaird at cmu.edu>>, mdekay at utk.edu<mailto:mdekay at utk.edu>,
        sbse at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>
Subject: Re: [Sbse] Climatic design in Arab world
Message-ID: <45d4e0bb.8d93.178a6ee567c.Webtop.89 at btinternet.com<mailto:45d4e0bb.8d93.178a6ee567c.Webtop.89 at btinternet.com>>
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Excellent trail here. It begs the question of what is / are:

a) a thermally good building - the thermal performance is related to the
amount of energy it needs to keep people acceptably comfortable indoors

b) the limits being set in each rating system for thermally comfortable
conditions indoors?

c) An acceptable lifespan for a building? If you are measuring the
energy performance over time - can we agree a time over which it should
be measured so we can compare outputs.

d) Can we include a factor in such rating systems for the 'Pandemic
Preparedness' of a buildings - and how might one measure that? - is we
are really trying to define the vulnerability of structures to
environmental change - their 'sustainability' - or durability - as
investments for owners and users?

If anyone wants a pdf of my Closing the Loop: benchmarks for Sustainable
Buildings - email me - I maintain there that one cannot compare apples
and pears in a black box system in which the assumptions of the box
creator are not clear.   One might end up with solutions that push less
sustainable alternatives for instance - Heaven Forbid.

I would welcome any insights into the above questions.....  genuinely
interested in the answers from SBSE - as aye...


Nina J. Baird, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor
Academic Chair, CMU Green Practices
Center for Building Performance & Diagnostics
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave, MMCH 415
Pittsburgh, PA  15213

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