The Normal: Minimising Energy Use; The Abnormal: Changing Habits
Homes and shelters with their diversified structures, are designed to cater for a controlled inside environment. Air conditioning, in heating or cooling, and refrigeration are known to use 75 % of the total electrical power generated in the world. Their thermal load is a function of the heat transferred through the boundaries of the building in addition to internal sources. Hence insulation is regarded a priory. Reducing this percentage to 50 % and increasing the energy efficiency of machinery by 5 % results in petroleum reserves lasting for 500 years instead of 190, with additional merits involved. A very simple study of the effects of the geometry and the geographic orientation of the building on the thermal load are investigated. The amount of heat transgressing the boundaries is a direct function of the heat transfer area. Single story model buildings of same material, equal areas, internal heat sources and occupancy is investigated. They are a square, rectangle and a dome (hemisphere). The calculations followed ASHRAE standard procedures. The Finite Element method is used in calculations for the hemispherical dome segmented surface area. The dome building gives the least calculated external thermal load. It is 58–68 % of that calculated for the other models, depending on variation in building materials. Heat ingress at 43.33 °C (110 °F) is double the heat ingress at 32.22 °C (80 °F) for all the models. But the average heat ingress of the other models is 29–67 % higher than that of the dome, depending on type of building materials. At high temperatures it is emphasised to use dome structures. A NASA Spinoff product, NSP, with its insulating properties is used on the surfaces of the models to further investigate reductions in the amount of heat ingress. The NSP is very effective in buildings with poor thermal resistivity and the heat ingress to the building is reduced to 47 %. Its effect is considerable in dome shaped buildings. The dome geometric structure gives the least heat ingress in addition to its benefits of friendly and cozy interior. As dome buildings contribute to the green environment, it is recommended to build more domes in residential compounds, especially when high-rise buildings are restricted. As the normal lies in minimising energy use, the abnormal lies, temporarily, in the attitudes during the process of acceptance and acclimatisation as some of us must change some of their habits. However, architects are very capable to re-introduce the dome and the dome habitat. As decisions in energy and town planning are inseparable from political decisions, it is recommended to encourage more building of domes by calling the year 2015 of Med Green Forum by the Year of the Dome and/or by the Florence Dome Declaration, with the Cathedral’s Dome as a logo.
KeywordsMinimizing energy Dome and hemisphere thermal load Building geometry and heat transfer NASA spinoff: Insuladd Florence Dome Declaration Year of the Dome
The authors are truly indebted to Ms. Randi EL-Hadi, whose efforts led to the final presentation of this text.
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