International experts speak on passive building technology in practice and its contribution to reducing energy demands

An array of issues including the risks of energy dependency were raised by experts at the Chartered Institution of Building Services’ (CIBSE) Natural Ventilation Group at a one-day seminar on Friday 21st June at UCL, London entitled Passive Building Technology in Practice. Hosted by CIBSE in association with UCL and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the event, which was fully subscribed, was sponsored by Breathing Buildings, Monodraught Ltd, Fläkt Woods Ltd and WindowMaster Control Systems Ltd.

High energy solutions used to maintain building occupant health and comfort in cities are succumbing to a vast range of problems. Apart from high cooling loads, requirements for artificial lighting and trends towards a wholly mechanically driven environment, the resultant energy use itself creates a regional heating effect that demands even more energy to address the extra cooling needs.

The seminar focused on demonstrating the passive features that are essential if this unsustainable energy dependency is to be brought under control.

The internationally-renowned contributors at the event shared their vast practitioner experience, and it was a unique opportunity to learn from and meet with some of the world’s leading experts in the field.

CIBSE President, George Adams introduced the seminar and stated that 80% of heated spaces currently use gas powered boilers. This is a real concern at a time when energy supply is vulnerable*.

Adapting cities for the future to help reduce thermal discomfort and energy waste, was explored by Professor Sue Roaf, School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, UK. Her talk ‘Designing Comfortable and Resilient Buildings and Cities in a Changing Climate: The Natural Ventilation Imperative’ echoed the sentiments highlighted by George Adams’ inaugural speech as CIBSE President on the theme ‘Whole Life Thinking’.

Professor Mat Santamouris, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, then discussed cities acting as heat islands and some solutions to this problem, in his presentation entitled ‘Cooling the Cities – Urban Mitigation Techniques’.