Energy management for built forms

Project : Passive Design House

Semester III (Batch A18): Technology

Studio conductors: Malak Singh Gill, Abhijit Ekbote, Shahveer Irani, Sabaa Giradkar, Dipti Bhaindarkar, Gauri Joshi

Text by: Diwakar Motwani

Edited by: Veeravalli Vikram, Sabaa Giradkar

Today, the world’s economic system is based on the principle of exhaustion of natural resources for the purpose of production and growth. It entails excessive negative impact on the environment, further predicting the extinction of humans and other species. In short, this system functions at the expense of our social integrity and environmental sustainability. Building sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past two decades, much has been done at the policy level which becomes a ready reference for going about the passive designing of structures and addressing the issue of climate change. There is a need for intuitive, voluntary and reasonable decisions to be made during designing, construction and adaptation of any project.

The semester 3 Technology studio of 2019-20 aimed at developing an understanding within the students of how the environment has been looked at as a resource and what are the ways in which architects or the construction sector at large have been mitigating to reduce their impact on the environment by efficient and optimized use of resources. In the process of building-making, the goal has been to reduce active energy consumption post its occupancy. To do so, reducing the demand side of energy requirement, by passive design features and material choices, has been practiced.

Lectures and studio sessions equipped the students with the understanding of ecological cycles and the geopolitics of the environment. One of the studios focused on studying sciography of the design projects by using the sun-dial tool. The qualitative analysis of allowing sufficient daylight and cross ventilation into the built forms were aided by quantitative aspects of embodied energy, energy leaks, thermal bridges, thermal insulation – U and R values of the materials and window to wall ratio. Another exercise was to look at the electricity consumption of their own residences to create a comparison between the lifestyle and the energy requirement for the same. One of the studios interrogated the embodied energy and thermal properties of different materials along with building components and systems like roof, walls, fenestration etc. This was done for every individual project in comparison with other projects so as to understand how the behavioral pattern of the material changes when combined with other materials, its system design and the climatic contexts. 

The construction systems, joinery details were developed through a series of lectures on  roofing, walling and foundation systems. A visit to an ongoing bungalow project in Kamshet by Ar. Malak Singh extended the classroom learning to the field and enabled students to experience construction and details practically. Another visit to Dr. Anjali Parasnis’s house in Khopoli allowed students to understand building systems and services integrated in the design itself, like the cycle of the water and its re-usability, the kitchen garden fed with compost from the kitchen waste, etc.

Site visit to an ongoing Residential Bungalow project in Kamshet, Maharashtra
Ar. Malaksingh Gill discussing the timber roof with the students of SEA
Dr. Anjali Parasnis discussing practices of sustainable lifestyle with the students of SEA.


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