| National design handbook prototype on passive solar heating and natural cooling of buildings |
The first five chapters of this publication take the reader through the basic design issues and establish the simple principles that are fundamental to good thermal design. Also included are appropriate "rule-of-thumb" guidelines for more specific use in the initial design.
The next chapter shows the designer how to evaluate the particular climate using the concept of "bio-climatic design". and thus how to choose between some of the basic design options discussed in the first chapter. This chapter addresses the problems of providing thermal comfort and improved lifestyle which, in many circumstances, is as important as the concepts of improved energy efficiency, especially where the basic energy consumption is low. Throughout history it has been found that improved thermal comfort and the entry of sunlight into northerly facing living spaces has a significant impact on the hearth general well-being of the occupants. This Is particularly so in cold winter climates where sunlit rooms are much more attractive than south-facing non-sunlit spaces.
Chapter VII investigates the detailed design using various tools and calculation procedures. It is in this section that the designer learns to refine the basic designs developed earlier. The calculation of detailed aspects such as shading for windows, energy-conservation measures and ventilation effects will be most important for prototype designs.
Evaluation and testing of a solution is important not only from the point of view of educational value but also simply to test the fitness of the design. With experience the designer will need to test design solutions less often as an intuitive design sense evolves.
Chapter VIII develops ways in which the proposed building's performance can be assessed.
Case studies have always been a valuable mechanism to bring a sense of reality to a design process. It is helpful to be able to study examples of buildings that are known to perform well and to see how and why they do so. It is also helpful to be able to see where certain strategies will produce limitations to the design in other ways. An example, perhaps, is the use of a thermal storage wall which, whilst energy-efficient and capable of producing a high level of comfort, might be too restrictive in terms of views to the north or visual connection to the outdoor spaces. In another situation or even another culture it might be ideal. The case studies included, as the final chapter of the handbook, strive to show these issues.
The annexes collect together a range of data appropriate to the Australian building designer. These should, by no means, be seen as exhaustive since the full range of useful data would require many volumes.