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Typical bioclimatic architecture passive air-conditioning constructive and architectonic strategies and solutions were used. The most outstanding passive air-conditioning elements of the building are:

  • A south-facing, double-height, glazed gallery in each one of the four modules. It has awnings to protect it from direct beam solar radiation and thermal curtains to prevent undesired energy losses.
  • A singular piece of prefabricated concrete covers this gallery, rising up over the roof like a periscope, seeking to harness and redirect the northern “cierzo” wind. On the other hand, and acting like a large air shaft, it is used to evacuate hot air from the upper part of the gallery when required.
  • Underground lower-ground floor to make use of the thermal inertia provided by the land.
  • An inertia wall in lower-ground floor that runs round the entire gallery.
  • Workable carpentry on opposing façades and on the upper part of the interior partitions, to facilitate crossed ventilation in the building.
  • Green roof, and placement of modules between garden spaces

Working of the building according to seasons

Winter

The objective during the winter months is to maximise solar gains and reduce energy losses, trying to preserve the energy harnessed as much as possible.

  • Solar gains: During the solar accessibility hours, the protections of the glazed gallery are removed, letting the solar radiation pass freely.
  • Thermal inertia: The inertia wall and the framework that the sun falls upon accumulate heat, which they will progressively release at the end of the day.
  • Greenhouse effect: Thanks to the greenhouse effect, the heat from the sun is trapped in the air inside the gallery and moves upwards thanks to its lower density. From there it is collected and driven by mechanical means to the general corridors of the building and the offices on the top floor.

Summer

During the summer months the objectives are: to avoid solar gains from the outside, reduce the generation of internal loads, evacuate excess heat and cool via ventilation when the outside air temperature permits this.

  • Shading: To avoid overheating some motorised and adjustable awnings placed on the outside of the galleries reduce the passage of direct beam radiation to a minimum, although they let the natural light in. The green roof and the plants in the patios also help provide the building with shade, and slightly lower its ventilation air temperature.
  • Natural ventilation:
    • The ventilation of the modules is carried out by crossed ventilation and on the upper part of the rooms, so that the hotter air can be evacuated, thus avoiding draughts that may be bothersome for the user if excessive speeds are registered.
    • The hot air is evacuated through the upper part of the gallery, acting like a natural air shaft.
    • On the days when the “cierzo” wind blows, the gratings situated on the northern side of the upper part of the gallery are opened. The “cierzo” wind, which will be cooled down slightly after passing the green roof, enters the gallery helping evacuate the hottest air, which will be displaced by the incoming air. The hot air will then be evacuated through the upper gratings on the southern side of the gallery.

Conclusion: Thanks to the application of the above strategies, the energy consumption of the CENER building for air-conditioning is less than 30 kWh/m2 a year.
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PRESENTATION OF THE CENER BUILDING  (PDF, 852 KB)

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