Passive design for offices

23/08/2021

Passive design for offices

As we have already said many times, everyday more architects and interior designers base their methodology in creating buildings that are respectful with the environment through the use of different techniques such as passive design. This method is a way of projecting buildings using environmental features with the aim of reducing energy consumption. Passive design is focused on components and materials used to build and uses natural phenomenon such as solar radiation or the wind to air condition spaces.

Where does this term come from?

Edward Mazria explains in his book “Passive Solar Energy Book” published in 1979 the definition of passive solar design and the strategies to make it possible. Mazria assures that “Passive solar energy systems catch and transport heat through natural resources”. Therefore, from the 70s, professionals from the industry started to talk about the constructive quality of buildings and their capacity of being sustainable.

In this article, we will explain how to implement passive refrigeration and light in offices.

Passive refrigeration systems in offices

The passive refrigeration systems are used to cool buildings without using mechanical techniques. These strategies can include location, windows, blinds or even shadows. Some techniques are maintenance of open windows, lower blinds to avoid that the sun enters, organize offices so that users can locate in zones with a shadow during the hottest hours. Etc. Elevation of ceilings is also used. This allows that air circulates better and refreshes the different areas of the office.

If the office is already built there can be little adaptations such as planting trees in front of a window or installing blinds to avoid the sun heat allowing that the different areas cool with the exterior air.

This technique is every day more valued for instance the certification LEED gives credits to those initiatives that include passive heating and refrigeration.

Passive illumination

The second aspect in this type of design is using solar light. To use solar systems, you must take into account the size of the windows. These elements need to adapt to the space so they can catch the natural light better and distribute it correctly. On the other hand, colours and tones must also be used in different zones, for instance, in interior zones it’s recommended to use small windows in clear areas due to their reflection capacity.

We must keep in mind that light also implies more heat and it’s important to use passive refrigeration systems to avoid increasing the energetic consumption.

What are the benefits of passive design?

This type of architecture has many benefits for users and for the environment, but we can mainly highlight three: it uses inexhaustible and free energy (sun and wind), it doesn’t emit CO2 emissions during the production of energy and reduces heating and refrigeration demand.

Colonial works everyday to build offices that adapt to the user’s needs, that are respectful and that take care of the environment. In our blog we will keep you informed about the sustainable trends, so you are always on track.

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