Evidence Based Design

Appreciating User Needs

Occupant comfort can be broken down into its key components of thermal comfort (air temperature, radiant temperature, humidity and air velocity), visual comfort (glare control and daylight availability) and air quality.

Metrics of thermal comfort explain the response of building occupants in terms of heat transfer mechanisms; however they do not take into account the interaction of the occupant with the built environment. The principle behind adaptive thermal comfort is that the user will adapt to the environment and interact with the passive design elements in the building. Provision of thermal comfort through passive design, needs to consider the user interface with the building and the cultural context.

A good passive design will cater for the user interaction and operability with the building façade and ventilation elements. In order to meet the requirements of both the conventional and adaptive models of thermal comfort, the building envelope must be designed to facilitate internal comfort conditions.

The level of daylight into a space will influence glare levels and energy usage attributed to artificial lighting.

Admission of daylight through windows is also associated with the provision of external views, internal aesthetics and the connectedness with the outside. Therefore optimal passive building design is a well considered balancing act between daylight, glare and heat gain/loss.

These three factors must be optimised while providing a space that caters to the aesthetic amenity and liveability.

A design for air quality through natural and mixed mode ventilation will go hand in hand with daylight penetration, heat losses or gains and views; as natural ventilation is often achieved through operable windows and louvres.

(Page 4 of 5)
August 26, 2011

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A good design is a sustainable design
If we define a good design as an efficient design which minimises the use of materials and resources during construction and operation, while achieving the desired outcome, then we are on the way to achieving sustainable design. Sustainability will be further enhanced by maximising the use of renewable/recyclable materials and resources.

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