PLEA 2017 FORUM TOPICS AND LEADERS
Click on a forum topic to read about it, then click the 'back to top' arrow in the bottom-right of the page to return to the top of the page.
Please refer to one forum topic when submitting your abstract.
Adapting to Climate Change – Chair: Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University
Unprecedented rises in global temperatures have begun to have a huge range of impacts of varying severity. In the front line of the ensuing system failures are buildings, be they those that burn or flood blow away. These are the immediately visible impacts of the changing climate but underlying them are less obvious system failures like the overheating of buildings, breakdown of communities, the rising costs of keeping cool or warm and the growing inability of sections of the population to afford the necessary energy to do so. Much recent work has focussed on measuring change and its impacts and providing tools and resources to deal with it. The idea of ‘Bouncing Forwards’ to a better safer future is key and that will take much research and innovative thinking to make that happen. We hope much of that new thinking on how we can ‘climate-proof’ our citizens, buildings, cities and regions will be presented in papers to this Forum. They will be very welcome.
Aesthetics and Design – Chairs: Neil Burford, University of Dundee and Ola Uduku, University of Edinburgh
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solar Hemicycle House designed for Herbert and Katherine Jacobs in Wisconsin in 1946 was a radical departure from the architecture of the time with its semi-circular layout and use of low embodied energy materials to conserve heat. The introduction of energy efficiency legislation in the early 1990’s, has resulted in unprecedented growth in architectural solutions, new building forms and aesthetic approaches to low energy building design. This has been in part due to the development and understanding of economic methods for designing and delivering low energy buildings, coupled to new passive and active technologies for conserving and generating energy. With this new understanding, low-energy building design is now not just the result of applying one or more isolated technologies. The achievement of this energy goal when successful is often accompanied by design choices that significantly influence architectural form. The aim of achieving low energy consumption, usually combining energy efficiency measures, mechanical systems and /or intelligent controls affects both the way in which the envelope as well as its contents are conceived, establishes a strong connection between the form of energy and the form of the architecture. Quite often successful design is a result of an integrated whole-building process that requires action and integration on the part of the design team throughout the entire project development process. How these concepts are radically shifting our perceptions and approaches to our built environment from the scale of individual buildings to new design and aesthetic approaches to neighbourhoods, districts and entire cities is of interest.
Bridging the Performance Gap – Chair: Paul Touhy, University of Strathclyde
Passive Low Energy Architecture success must be measured on actual energy and IEQ performance. There is much evidence that intended performance is not achieved in reality due to issues of design, construction, commissioning, or operation. This workshop aims to explore: design process and success criteria, the state of the art in understanding and addressing performance gaps, the extent to which current Industry and regulatory initiatives and processes do or do not address this issue, and what needs to be done in future. The extent to which processes such as Regulations, NABERS, BIM, LEED, Passivhaus, BREEAM, HQE, CASBEE, Energystar, Softlandings etc. really do (or in reality do not) address energy and IEQ performance gaps and deliver Passive Low Energy Architecture in practice is of interest. The extent to which design process is robust against variations likely to be seen in operations, behaviour and weather and how these variations are incorporated in measurements of performance is of interest. How limits to building performance range are expressed is of interest.
Building Performance Evaluation - Chair: Tim Sharpe, Glasgow School of Art
For the last two decades in Britain there has been a growing awareness of the importance of Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) in achieving and maintaining energy use and emissions reductions in practice. Not only is BPE used in the day to day fine tuning of buildings in use to improve energy efficiency and occupant satisfaction with buildings but the lessons learnt from BPE have helped to improve design standards as architects and engineers use it to learn what works in buildings and what does not. BPE covers all stages of a project from concept and design to construction and post occupancy evaluation (POE) and both can be carried out in new, existing and refurbished domestic and non-domestic buildings. BPEs can cover fabric, building services and controls, energy, fuel and water use, handover and commissioning processes and occupant satisfaction and comfort. Papers on all of the above along with cases studies of BPEs in practice and discussions of the potentials for BPEs in current and future markets.
Carbon Accounting – Chair: Francesco Pomponi, University of Cambridge
The bottom line of our survival as a species and a planet is best represented by the trends in carbon emissions from our societies around the world. As the ice melts globally and temperatures rise causing increasingly extreme climate events we understand how important the ratcheting down of emissions are to meet reasonable long term carbon targets for survival. But how often do we hear carbon seriously discussed now? It appears that the interest in carbon emission accounting prior to the 2008 global economic recession (www.icarb.org) has lost its impetus since then. But our global future on this planet depends on it. We are asking to interesting and challenging papers on this subject and will hold a forensic discursive plenary panel discussion on the subject here in Scotland, the first country in the world to publish both a financial and a carbon budget in parallel. How to make Carbon Matter Again? A question we want answered in this Forum.
Comfort & Delight – Chair: Fergus Nicol, Oxford Brookes University
A key measure of the success of a building is whether people find it comfortable. Comfort is often achieved by installing lots of expensive equipment and spending lots on running it so the building can provide an acceptable temperature. Another approach is for the designers to take responsibility for understanding the heat flows through the building. With sensible design the building will allow the inhabitants to control the building to their own needs and desires: for instance maximising the benefits of heat gain from the sun; moving it through and storing it in the structure so as to avoid the danger of over-heating; using airflow through the structure to provide the rooms with good ventilation and using passive techniques to promote and enable occupant comfort. Truly Passive and Low Energy Architecture requires the designer to understand not just the building but also the inhabitants. Not just how they feel about the building but also how they react towards it and use it, and its environmental systems, to avoid discomfort. An understanding is needed of their physics and physiology, but also of the way they respond to the building they inhabit and interact with it. So papers on ‘comfortable buildings’ are invited to highlight how good passive design can enhance comfort but also how designers can help inhabitants to achieve it. Papers are also invited which help designers to understand human motivation and response to buildings: how providing ways to achieve comfort is the key and provides a fundamental insight into how we can continue to provide acceptable indoor climates in a warming world.
Community Energy – Andrew Peacock, Heriot Watt University
An energy revolution is happening in Scotland and around the world. In 2016 over 60% of energy consumed in Scotland came from renewable generation, from wind, solar, biomass, tidal, hydrogen and methane sources, and a growing proportion from local generation systems. Scotland now has many community energy projects and more on the books each year, encouraged by clear and effective government policy support and implementation, an effective NGO sector and grass roots level interest and investment in local energy generation (http://www.communityenergyscotland.org.uk/ ). Across Europe and the developed and developing world significant research has gone into optimising the value to local communities of such energy systems through orchestration of demand and supply, improved local weather forecasting, building and community level storage systems and consumption reduction strategies. Integrated research here includes inputs from social scientists, designers, lawyers, physicists, designers, engineers, economists and a surprising range of skills underpinning the extraordinary rise both here and internationally, of community energy schemes. Papers are welcomed on any community schemes and the role of buildings within them, particularly where they identify how extra value can be extracted from the generated energy and / or deal with how barriers to their introduction have been overcome. We look forward to learning from your experiences in this dynamic and significant field.
Construction - Chair: Phil Banfill, Heriot Watt University
Low energy architecture requires both appropriate materials and construction technologies that can be built in practice. Papers are invited on the properties and performance of low-energy materials, on appropriate construction assemblies for low-energy buildings, and on any aspects of construction that are not dealt with in other themes, including, but not limited to, structure, fabric, heat transfer, lighting, sound attenuation, moisture transport, airtightness, environmental impact, life cycle assessment and costs. They may report research outcomes or case studies of buildings/designs.
Cool Cities and Urban Heat Islands - Rohinton Emmanuel, Glasgow Caledonian University
The twin realities of modern climate change and the rapid global urbanisation mean that most people will experience the effects of climate change in cities. In the face of increasing domestic and international political difficulties in reaching global agreements on mitigating/adapting to climate change, the need for local actions, especially those that ameliorate the negative climatic consequences of rapid urbanisation is beginning to be recognized, even by the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is in part due to the increasing realisation that mitigating the urban climate change is not only technically feasible but also politically achievable for state as well as city governments. Given the fact that cities are already engaged in adaptive actions many see cities as the ‘first responders’ to climate change and are already beginning to engage them. This Forum will explore the many ideas and exemplar practices in cool cities (including urban form manipulation, shade and ventilation enhancement, increased albedo etc). It will pay specific attention to the widely beneficial strategy of green infrastructure enhancement in different urban contexts and explore the environmental opportunities as well as economic and institutional barriers to their wide adoption.
Culture and Society – Chair: Andrew Toland, University of Technology, Sydney
For at least several decades now, environmental issues and aspirations have increasingly become woven into the fabric of daily life. At the same time, many would argue that we have yet to experience the kind of ‘cultural shift’ necessary to transform lifestyles and consumption patterns in ways that might have a significant impact on carbon emissions, resource depletion or declines in biodiversity. These are no longer just issues in developed western societies, but are also being debated in developing and non-western contexts, and considered in relation to different cultural conceptions of the relationship between society and ‘nature’. In addition, a longstanding intra-disciplinary rift between, on the one hand, the ‘art’ of architecture as a carrier of cultural, social and intellectual meaning, and, on the other, ‘sustainable’ architecture as an opportunity to contribute to environmental progress, demands to be reconciled if the discipline is to move forward at a moment when environmental issues are increasingly material and cultural at one and the same time. Because architecture and design are key conduits for translating ‘culture’ into material realities and giving form to collective social ambitions, an explicit consideration of cultural and social formations and their connection to the arena of sustainable architecture seems more urgent than ever. The purchase of the notion of the Anthropocene on the contemporary artistic (including architectural) imagination is just one example of how environmental issues are now crucially shaping cultural production. Similarly, tacit cultural positions are equally at work in what appear to be purely technical manifestations of sustainable architecture. These interrelationships between social and cultural practices and the sustainable creation and use of the built environment demand investigation and may contribute to our understanding of the kinds of ‘ecological’ transformation that might be possible in a given society at a given time. Papers reflecting on these issues across a variety of cultural and social contexts (or even within earlier historical settings) are invited to develop an understanding of, and dialogue about, the interaction between culture, society, environmental and attitudinal change, and architecture’s potential in shaping and channelling these dynamics.
Digital Design - Chair: Joe Clarke, University of Strathclyde.
Building performance simulation provides an unsurpassed means to test the robustness of proposed design solutions under realistic operating conditions and in terms of the many conflicting cost and performance attributes that need to be kept in balance. That said the approach will necessarily correspond to an ideal state with respect to system operation, including occupant interactions. Performance in practice may therefore be different from the design intent, a gap that can be addressed by routine conditions monitoring supporting remedial action informed by timely feedback. This is an emerging possibility enabled by notions such as the ‘Internet of Things’, ‘big data analytics’ and automatic diagnostic analyses applied to building estates. A significant development is the use of such devices to recalibrate models constructed at the design stage to enable their application in support of the facilities management process. This conference theme will include presentations addressing developments in the application of building performance simulation at the design and operational stages with particular emphasis on approaches that connect the two phases and thereby help to bridge the performance gap.
Education and Training- Chair: Ashraf Salama, Head of Architecture, University of Strathclyde.
No other professions have undergone as dramatic a transformation in the past decades as that of the design and construction professions. In local, regional, and global contexts, education for the creative and construction industries continually encounters demands to assimilate increasingly rapid changes in building markets into the courses and enable their more effective integration into practice. Education in architecture and urbanism provides the fundamental foundations for the aspiration of “designing to thrive”, by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and skills from the market requirements into the design professions to help them to continue to meet the wishes and needs of their society, economy and environment. This requires constant updating of our educational systems, and in recent decades the way in which design education and training are provided, and their consequences and impacts, have been treated as a research field on their own. Awareness has grown of the need to keep education’s underpinning theories, contents and contexts, methods and tools continuously questioned and diagnostically examined to ensure they are fit for purpose in the 21st century, genuinely addressing contemporary environmental and societal challenges and taking advantages of emerging opportunities as they arise. Papers are invited for the Forum and a Plenary session and Panel, aimed at broadening and deepening the debate on how well the education and training of design professionals are contributing to shaping a Thriving Future. Papers on subjects including teaching delivery models, experiential and inquiry-based learning, design studio experimentation, trans-disciplinary experiences, and the way in which these help shape such a future, are all welcomed.
Selected papers will be featured in a special PLEA 2017 Issue of the highly ranked, open access journal "Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research” http://www.archnet-ijar.net/index.php/IJAR/index
Energy Efficiency – Chairs: David Jenkins and Fan Wang, Heriot Watt University
Regardless of whatever the future energy generation mix is that might best serve our energy demand it is vital that, across a multitude of sectors, we find a way of using less energy. Energy efficiency provides energy services at a lower operating cost, can be linked with healthier, better-functioning buildings, allows more flexibility in the way energy supply can meet energy demand, and, in doing so, helps countries to meet challenging carbon targets. Without prioritising energy efficiency, other approaches to carbon reduction are unlikely to be effective.
The International Energy Agency has estimated that approximately 50% of required climate mitigation will need to come from energy efficiency improvements. The United Nations Foundation, through initiatives such as the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform, is aiming to scale up the potential savings from energy efficiency and bring in improved technical support and funding. Within this landscape, the role of buildings is of huge importance. What should we now expect an energy efficient building to be? What technologies and designs should be encouraged? How will such buildings be used? How much can, and has, been achieved with energy efficiency programmes and what constitutes Best Practice in the field? We hope your papers may help answer some of the questions.
Eutrophication of Water Bodies – Chair: Will Brownlie, University of Edinburgh
Around the world local canals, lakes, ponds, rivers and even ocean reaches are being turned green, blue or brown because of the Eutrophication of water bodies. Often an overlooked environmental hazard eutrophication is the single greatest cause of water quality deterioration in freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems in the world and is caused by the redistribution of phosphorus (P) within the P cycle. Successful management of eutrophication has to date involved the reduction of anthropogenic inputs of P from a range of point and diffuse sources that are currently exacerbated by the escalating stressors of population increase and economic development. Households contribute nearly 70% of P to British rivers, with over 7% of properties in the UK not connected to municipal sewage systems with sceptic tanks that can be P polluters if inefficient of poorly maintained. In the US this figure is around one in four homes. The problem of reducing anthropogenic flows of P from buildings and settlements is now a multidimensional environmental problem that may encompass everything from water chemistry, to policy assessment and human behavioural psychology to answer its unique and important questions of ‘how do we reduce the human P footprint and rectify its impacts in water bodies?’ Papers are invited on experiences and solutions to this growing and major global problem.
Future City Visions - Chair: Circe Monteiro, Federal University of Pernambu, Recife
There will be two main aspects of this forum: the idea of ‘joined-up policy making’ set against clear ideas of future visions for a city and then a second plenary session on ‘water safe cities’. For the first the extraordinary achievements of the City State of Singapore will be drawn on at the plenary session with speakers contributing not only programmes and progress associated with individual professional field but also elucidating the ‘Joined-up Visioning’ that has helped the state develop a prioritised, and actioned plan to incrementally steer the State towards an ultimately sustainable future. The scope of that vision is extraordinary and includes plans to reduce the temperature across the island over degrees to help cope with the rising temperatures in a warming world and create climate proof energy, transport and economic infra-structures. The water safe cities plenary will set out how four leading global cities have responded to events, research and climate projections to take major alterations to how their own cities are planned, built and operated in response to flooding and water quality challenges, all set within an evolving long term visioning process designed to build resilience into their physical, economic and social urban structures and futures.
Green Infrastructure – Chair: Kate Carter, University of Edinburgh
The developing ideas around the notion of ‘Green Infrastructure’ provide evolving ecological blueprints for natural frameworks and services designed to improve the social, economic and environmental health in buildings, settlements and regions. Green networks within and between urban, rural and aqueous landscapes can contain many different opportunities for tackling urban and climatic challenges by building with nature. The main components of such networks have been traditionally included storm water management, climate adaptation, heat stress reduction strategies, more biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water and healthy soils, as well as the more anthropocentric functions such as increased quality of life through recreation and provision of shade and shelter in and around towns and cities. Developing ideas around such green-infrastructures are now providing exciting new policy tools and approaches with which to re-plan landscapes and ecosystems to reduce their environmental stresses while at the same time enhancing social, economic and cultural value within them. Papers are invited on different aspects of Green-infrastructural developments, case studies and ways and means of measuring their success in practice.
Health and Air Quality – Chair: Grainne McGill, Glasgow School of Art
Both indoor and outdoor air quality have a fundamental influence on the health, wellbeing and comfort of building occupants. The air we breathe can contain more than 900 different chemicals, biological material, and particles, many of which may be potentially harmful to human health. In developed countries, people spend on average 90% of their time indoors and so architects and built environment professionals have a profound responsibility for creating a healthy indoor environment. Whilst awareness of the impacts of climate change has prompted significant changes in construction practice, there are now emerging concerns that mitigation strategies may have unintended consequences, particularly on the quality of indoor air. Yet knowledge and understanding of indoor air quality principles and policies among designers remain critically lacking. How do we ensure decarbonisation of buildings whilst ensuring a healthy and comfortable indoor environment? Papers are invited for the forum on health and indoor air quality, which will focus on the ways that the design, construction, management, operation and maintenance of passive and low energy buildings can impact on the quality of indoor air (both perceived and measured) and the health of building occupants.
Historic Buildings & Refurbishment – Chair: Amar Bennadji, Robert Gordon University
The majority of the buildings that will exist in 2050 are already built. The greatest challenge we face today is to ensure that these buildings are brought up to a standard that can not only ensure they continue to provide safety and comfort of their occupants over time but also that the energy used to do so does not have too great an impact on our climate and environment. The challenge of bringing older buildings up to modern day performance standards can be a daunting one but where better to discuss the challenges involved that in Scotland where historic and existing buildings have been adapted, improved and built on for centuries. Papers here will show how much progress has been achieved in the historic buildings sector through investment and research in Scotland. Papers are invited for this forum, on policies and programmes for building improvement, cases studies of how value at many levels can be extracted from refurbishment exemplars and also on research designed to provide robust and durable fabric and technological solutions for the reinforcement and improvement of older buildings.
Light – Chair: Luisa Brotas, Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings
A well-lit environment has innumerable advantages to both the occupants and owners of buildings and has huge implications for their actual sustainability and environmental impacts. The use of natural daylight and energy efficiency that lead to reductions in carbon emissions are at the forefront of sustainable design. Both good day and artificial lighting can play a major role promoting visual comfort, wellbeing and increasing productivity and integrated approaches to their complementary use can significantly reduce energy use in buildings. Principles of light are not new but recent technological developments of lamps and luminaires, controls and redirecting systems are creating good synergies and should be given much thought for early stages on an integrated design. Likewise new thinking, tools and criteria to design and assess artificial light, daylight and glare, allows quantification of their benefits on several spheres including energy savings, regulating our circadian system and promotion health. There is currently an active debate on the future of ‘fit for purpose’ regulations and guidelines associated with new approaches to the lighting of buildings. This forum will be the place to present and discuss such important topics.
Low Carbon Design – Chair: Gokay Deveci, Robert Gordon University
The European Directive on the energy performance of buildings was designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce carbon emissions from them and the impact of buildings on climate change. The Recast directive 2010/31/EU was adopted on 19 May and it’s Article 9 requires that member states ensure all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB) by 31st December 2020 and that after the 31st December 2018, new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities are nearly zero-energy buildings. The directive required that member states draw up national plans for increasing the number of nearly zero-energy buildings and develop policies and take measures to stimulate the transformation of buildings that are refurbished into nearly zero-energy building. These are extraordinarily ambitious targets and many member states are finding it difficult to step up to this policy plate and Britain – voting for Brexit – no longer has to pretend to. Around the world the idea of low / zero / near zero-carbon buildings are gaining traction as a low hanging fruit for climate mitigation policies, and this Forum invites paper from around the world on buildings that have attempted to reach these aspirational standards, with their design rationales, records of their performance in practice and discussions, backed up by analyses, of the ways forward for Low Carbon Buildings in current building and economic markets. Can we make them happen in reality? Let us learn from each other, and grow our ideas together, on this important issue.
Materials – Chair: Sam Chapman, Heriot Watt University
Construction practises and the production of building materials have some of the largest impacts on society on the planet. These range from the environmental impacts of raw material extraction and refinement to the multi-faceted effects materials can have on the well-being of occupants interacting with buildings themselves. However slow the construction industry has traditionally been to innovate to reduce such impacts compared with other industries, there is now a momentum for change that reflects the urgency of the need to develop more sustainable building materials and practises to house growing populations while at the same time drastically reducing the impacts of doing so. New materials innovations are key to achieving these environmental and social aspirations at an acceptable cost in terms both of energy and carbon emissions of production, construction and end of life demolition as well as their human impacts on building occupants. The construction industry has an opportunity to lay the foundations for a truly circular economy, with huge knock on benefits in reducing shortages in material supply, meeting the looming regulatory requirements for construction waste reduction by 2025 and also increasing recycling within the industry. Papers covering research on the development and application of new materials, the modification of existing materials or the novel use of recycled building wastes in the material production stream are invited. The PLEA 2017 Materials Forum provides a platform to share and exchange experiences, knowledge and ideas on the emerging landscape of innovative and appropriate materials development for both global and local construction industries.
Overheating – Chair: Samuel Domínguez-Amarillo. University of Seville
With the steep rise in global temperatures, overheating is one of the most visible effects of climate change on buildings. Further to forecasts more frequent extreme weather events and longer and warmer summers, the risk of overheating may well become one of the primary causes of building system failure. A major share of the energy presently consumed in buildings is used to expel heat, traditionally in warm regions, but increasingly in cold climates as well. Increasing internal loads, poor climatic design, over-glazed façades, over-engineered insulation, over-reliance on mechanical cooling and lack of natural ventilation all contribute to overheating that can affects comfort and productivity, lead to health problems, reduce in life expectancy and increase risk of death in the most vulnerable occupants. These issues, with possible rises in energy consumption, costs and greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on power generation and distribution systems (particularly electricity grids) make overheating an increasingly critical public problem. This forum aims to openly discuss definitions of, and explore cost efficient amelioration strategies for building designers, focusing in particular on existing buildings and the action that can be taken to improve their response to overheating through effective retrofitting design and operations that do not worsen the problem. Although many strategies are simple in theory (natural ventilation, shading, using vegetation etc.) many are much harder to achieve in real practice without compromising other factors such as noise control, safety, air quality or operating costs. The forum complements others dealing with lessons from vernacular solutions, new materials approaches, adaptive comfort design dilemmas such as the compromise between over-insulating and overheating risks, balancing passive and active measures and mechanical and behavioural control solutions? Papers addressing fresh, comprehensive approaches and new evidence on building performance in relation to overheating will be particularly welcome.
Passive & Climatic Design – Chair: Colin Porteous, Glasgow School of Art
The wording of this dual topic is only a slight variant on the core brand of PLEA – Passive Low Energy Architecture. It indicates both the paramount importance of the design of the building itself, rather than any active servicing systems it may also require, as well as environmental interactions in its climatic context. What remains implicit is firstly that such an approach leads to little energy use with minimum carbon emissions, and secondly that it promotes occupiers’ wellbeing in a holistic sense. This is not a new concept, PLEA itself running annual conferences since the early 1980s. But solutions have incrementally changed and refined over four decades even though hybrid ‘passive-active’ designs were already in the frame at that time in the hope of addressing key shortcomings in each approach. Then in the 1990s the German PassivHaus standard emerged, with basic tenets of insulation, good envelope design, air-tightness and a dependency on mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR). This approach was followed in the 2000s by the Active House approach with greater sustainability emphasis on adaptive comfort, renewable energy use, natural ventilation, lighting and energy storage. Over the last few years many modern buildings have been shown to perform less well than traditional construction types in, for instance in hot weather or in high winds, driving concerns over trends in overheating and construction failures experienced in many modern buildings. This then is the context for this forum, which it is hoped will raise questions of where next in the search for more resilient design, yield fresh experiences and provide a platform for deliberations on these important evolving issues, Ideas and design solutions. Papers touching on these issues and related designing thinking and achievements are all welcome.
Place Making and Well-being - Husam Al Waer, University of Dundee
The key theme of PLEA 2017 is ‘Design to Thrive’ and increasingly success in planning, architecture and urban developments is seen in terms of the extent to which developments enhance the lives of those who live, utilise and work in them. The term of ‘well-being’ is often used to describe and explore ideas of how one measures and manages that enhancement. As we move away from the idea that a flourishing life is primarily connected to material prosperity towards one that positions well-being as a significant goal for public policy, this shift is being accompanied by a commitment to empower local communities, unlocking social capital and giving individuals greater voice in the processes of place making that determine the quality and direction of their lives. Together, these changes provide opportunities to secure healthier life styles, safeguard ecological-integrity, promote greater equity and support more resilient places in the low carbon future. Ideas of well-being and place-making offer a people-centred approach to design that can have cost-free impacts in terms of significantly improving the quality of life of people and the communities they live in. Papers are invited on all aspects of the above and in particular issues around how one measures and manages levels of well-being and success in place-making exercises.
Renewables – Chair: Tariq Muneer, Napier University
The extraordinary growth of the renewables sector is nowhere better exemplified than in Scotland where the equivalent of around 60% of all energy consumed in the country is generated renewably. This forum invites papers dealing with the application of the whole range of renewable energy technologies to the direct supply of building energy systems. Papers on wind, water and ground source heat pump systems are particularly welcomed as are papers on the integration of renewably generated energy into larger buildings and building complexes, such as those for business parks, hospitals, schools and university campuses.
Resilience, Aging and Adapting to Change - Chairs: Bev James (Director, Public Policy & Research) and Kay Saville-Smith, (Director at CRESA, Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment), New Zealand.
Architecture and urban design are pivotal factors in the challenge of aging well. Population ageing is inevitable and irrefutable. The resilience, sustainability and functionality of our dwellings and the built environment are key to realising the benefits of the longevity dividend, of living well, as well as long. Homes in particular not only reflect the social and economic conditions of their occupants, but can also dictate them. They ideally, can meet the everyday needs and preferences of older citizens and their lifestyles, and additionally provide crucial protection against extreme events and other hazards. Many societies promote ‘ageing in place’, ‘lifetime homes’ and ‘age-friendly cities’ that support older people to continue to age in their homes and communities, remain independent for as long as possible and reduce reliance on institutional aged care. But how are those policies played out in practice? Do they have the outcomes sought and expected? How do such policies actually relate to growing trends towards less home ownership and greater renting among older people? How should next step policies cope with emerging demographic and occupancy trends? How can quality of life for older people be maintained in shifting social and economic landscapes? These are major questions for our age. Papers are invited for the Forum and a keynote Plenary discussion and debate will focus on the Tools, Resources and Policies to enable Older People to do Well in Difficult Times.
Sound – Chair: Laurent Galbrun, Heriot Watt University
Studies have shown that engineering noise control solutions are not sufficient for dealing with today’s acoustical challenges, as multiple factors affect sound and its perception. Within that context, it is now accepted that acoustic design can greatly benefit from perceptual approaches that complement traditional engineering solutions, for example using positive sounds (e.g. water, birdsongs, bells and wind in trees) to mask noise. This is in line with the broader soundscape approach, which relies on both physical characteristics and mental perception of the aural environment. Soundscape research is multidisciplinary by nature, as it combines engineering and social science methodologies, in view of developing qualitative solutions aimed at improving quality of life and comfort. Papers are invited on innovative acoustic solutions, with a focus towards soundscape research. Papers on sustainable acoustics are also highly suitable to this conference, as well as any original architectural acoustic research.
Solar and Hydrogen Buildings – Chair: Tadhg O'Donovan, Heriot Watt University
Micro-generation of energy from solar sources have boomed in the early 2010’s, incentivised mainly by generous Feed-In-Tariffs (FIT). In recent years, domestic scale energy storage to take full economic advantage of domestic solar has become a necessity due to the substantial cuts in FIT. The benefits, to the user for sustainable and independent energy generation in terms of economics and security of supply are becoming increasing important. Challenges in terms of affordability (new build vs retro-fit), and efficient energy management within individual domestic dwellings and community schemes remain. A vision for the future and the contribution solar and hydrogen building can make will be the subject of this session. Papers are invited on innovative solar PV, solar thermal, hydrogen and other storage technologies. The integration of complementary technologies, economic financial and policy related papers are also particularly welcome.
Transition Communities - Chair: Keith Baker, Glasgow Caledonian University
The communities we live in today are the foundations of the societies future generations will inhabit, and the buildings we design today will be a very visible and tangible legacy. Submissions under this Forum should therefore address how low energy architecture and built environments can help bring about transitions towards lower carbon and more resilient communities, and similarly how empowered low carbon communities can influence the growth of low energy architecture and the reduction of emissions from built environments. They may also address how communities can influence, or are influenced by, other aspects of healthy buildings and built environments, such as improving levels of thermal comfort and affordable warmth, and tackling energy and fuel poverty. Both quantitative and qualitative studies are welcomed however, where quantitative studies are presented these should emphasise the use of measured, rather than modelled data. Submissions should have a strong policy focus, locally, nationally or internationally, and address relevant legislation and standards, and multi-disciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged.
Transport – Chair: Sarah Boyack, Heriot Watt University
In our rapidly changing world transport is the glue that connects the many different aspects of our lifestyles and the buildings and settlements they occur in. Some see transport in terms of the logistics of getting from A to B, with more traffic on congested and underfunded road and rail systems, or opportunities to rationalise, innovate and profit from new transport solutions. Other may associate their transport habits with commuter frustrations, poor air quality and road safety and issues noise and stress. As the percentage of populations who move to, and live in cities grows, transport issues increasingly determine how successful a building, city and region is, not only in terms of its productive output, efficiency and operational costs and impacts but also the quality of life and well-being of the citizens who occupy them. Papers are invited on any aspect of this subject including transport planning and policy, public transport successes, walking, cycling and integrated transport based solutions, and new transport modes and technologies such as electric and hydrogen vehicles and vertical transport systems including funiculars and lift systems. These should all relate to the ways in which transport can impact on the energy consumption and/or quality of life of citizens in their daily lives and the buildings and settlements they occupy.
Ventilation – Chair: Brian Ford, Natural Cooling Ltd.
It is inevitable that we will have to do more work in future to maintain comfort in our buildings using less fossil fuel energy in our changing climate. In the 1990s an emphasis was placed on increasing the energy efficiency of mechanical systems to achieve emissions reductions but these produced often only small incremental improvements. After the turn of the century a modal shift to new mechanical solutions followed, such as the use of air, water and ground sourced heat pumps and heat recovery to reduce heat demand in buildings, produce it more efficiently and harvesting local energy at the same time. In recent years the shift has been to increasingly looking at ways to optimise the overwhelming benefits of using natural ventilation for as much of the year and day as possible to provide big step changes in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time providing adequate indoor air quality and local cooling. There are many exciting developments in this field in optimised mechanical solutions, through to mixed mode and fully naturally ventilated systems that couple with new thinking on ideas on the heating and cooling individuals within spaces. Inevitably a future goal is for the down-sizing of mechanical systems, compensated for by better designed, built and performing buildings and the use of more natural conditioning to create truly sustainable ventilation systems that are fit for purpose in a warming future. Papers are welcomed on the whole range of approaches to the effective ventilation of buildings, particularly in relation to how they are appropriate for passive and low energy buildings.
Vernacular Buildings – Chair: Marcel Vellinga, Oxford Brookes University
Vernacular buildings are a receptacle for local knowledge and skill in how to construct shelters and lifestyles that enable populations to live comfortable, and or safely, in even the most extreme climates. This wisdom resulted in the building blueprints for survival in the pre-machine age, but these design skills are all too often being lost in the proliferation of new construction techniques, materials, mantras and technologies. In a future of more extreme climate events , of growing populations of diminishing resources and lower income expectations the actual essential building will again become key as well learn to do ‘more with less’ and we will need to revisit those old wisdom and understanding of good local climatic design that is enshrined in the regional vernacular archetypes. The evolution of a 21st century vernacular that is fit for purpose in a rapidly changing world has to be a two way process where the use of modern methods and understanding can help us to improve those archetypes and in turn create safer building and settlements in the climates, societies and economies of the future. Papers are invited from authors and regions around the world who can not only shed light of the skills and wisdom of the traditional vernacular builder but also on the lessons we can draw from them to lay the foundations for a better future for the species and societies of our planet. Keynote speaker will be Marcel Vellinga, Editor of the forthcoming 2nd Edition of the Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World.
Water and Waste – Chair: David Kelly, Heriot Watt University
Water has a very important, if not crucial, role in the way we live our lives. We depend on a clean and safe water supply to meet our daily needs: we use it for drinking and bathing, for growing food and producing resources, for creating beautiful urban vistas, and also for providing fun and recreation. Our modern world is built on the foundations of reliable sanitation and drainage systems for carrying wastewater and rainwater. Yet, the management of these vital water systems are facing significant challenges globally due to rising populations, urban densification, and climate change impacts. The growing frequency of water shortages, flooding, and watercourse pollution are all signs that our existing infrastructure is stressed and unable to cope. New ways of managing water in our cities, towns, and villages is needed that not only sustains a healthy natural environment whilst meeting human needs, but that also harmoniously integrates water cycle management with our built environment. For this to happen, we need sustained inter-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration, as well as actors for the mobilisation of social change. Papers are welcomed on any aspect of these two subjects that become daily more important as we attempt to not only provide the resources for a decent life to more and more people but also to cope with the waste streams they produce. Papers on issues of efficiency, innovative thinking and products and new approaches to solving water and waste problems are all of interest.
Windcatchers and Windows - Chair: Sue Roaf, Heriot Watt University. Plenary speaker: Professor Mehdi Bahadori, Iran.
Windcatchers are some of the most sophisticated natural air-conditioning systems in the world, and records of them adorning buildings date back to the Middle Kingdom in Egypt over 1000BC. In many hot countries they flourished most prominently on the homes of the richer classes when flowered in buoyant economies. Their great age has left marvellous traces in the great towers above settlement across Iran and the Gulf. Modern architects and engineers have long sought to emulate the visual and functional elegance of these traditional devices and as we enter and on increasing pressure to run buildings for as much of the year as possible on natural ventilation there are many intuitions working on the underlying mechanisms of their success as advanced natural systems. Papers are requested on the forms and functions of different modern and ancient windcatchers designs for the Forum papers and possibly for the plenary panel that will include a presentation and discussions by our keynote speaker, Professor Mehdi Bahadori from Iran.
Windows are so important to the success and impacts of building: their size, functions, operation, materials, appearance, proportions and colour. Yet they have been largely side-lined as dynamic building elements by many practising designers who are content to minimising costs, design originality, natural ventilation of interiors by simply ‘glazing walls’ or using the business as usual façade articulations in their ‘modern buildings’. Increasingly the leading edge architects and engineers are working together to innovate new window approaches and seasonal and diurnal window opening protocols in the quest for genuinely low carbon building designs that can also minimise glare generated by the glass itself. Future facing comfort paradigms increasingly rely on the use of natural ventilation through windows and walls for as much of the day or year as possible. Papers are invited on any aspect of window design and a dedicated Plenary Panel Session will start with a discussion on the future of windows on our evolving building markets.
For more information on the topics feel free to contact us, stating the topic in the subject line.