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CIBARQ10 discute sobre cómo integrar las energías renovables en la edificación

The second day of CIBARQ10, International Congress on Architecture, Cities and Energy, “Low Carbon Cities”, organised by CENER’s Department of Energy in Buildings, will mainly focus on discovering how buildings should be from a technological perspective and how to integrate renewable energies into them as successfully as possible. During the day’s programme, participants will also hear about the experiences and most renowned projects of four eminent international professionals: Stephen Selkowitz, Bert Wasmer, Ken Yeang and Volkmar Bleicher, the presentations selected for the CIBARQ10 Experiences and Projects Competition, to which over 70 professionals and students have submitted architecture, engineering and urban planning projects designed to achieve energy efficiency, use renewable energies and easily-applied technologies, achieve environmental benefits and be economically viable.

Raúl Huitrón Stephen Selkowitz

“In the United States, buildings represent the largest and most rapidly growing use of energy. They account for 40% of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and over 70% of the total electrical energy used”. These are a few of the figures brought to CIBARQ10 by the prestigious American physicist Stephen Selkowitz. As he outlined in his speech, in spite of a few highly visible success stories and a couple of decades implementing policies and programmes to deal with these challenges, total energy use in the construction sector continues to rise in North America and, as we have seen at the Congress, throughout Europe as a whole. According to Selkowitz, in order to slow down or reverse these trends and the adverse impacts of carbon emissions on climate change, a substantial change is required in the energy consumption of buildings. In his opinion, there are options which, if implemented effectively, will not only reduce energy use drastically but also generate new environmentally-friendly jobs and improve the economy.

Retos y oportunidades

According to Selkowitz, one of the challenges facing the construction sector is to develop and build reliable “dynamic façade buildings” which consistently provide well-being, comforts and energy efficiency. Another challenge should be the comprehensive evaluation of a building’s life cycle; in other words, examining the performance requirements from the start of the project up until it is put into operation and, in the last analysis, its demolition; and also, to move away from the current approach in which technology in itself is seen as the ‘solution’, towards a joint strategy in which politics, business plans and technology go hand in hand and constitute a cohesive whole.

Selkowitz also presented new systems for the façades of active buildings that seek to achieve zero net energy use. According to the Director of the Building Technologies Department at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, the case of building façades is particularly interesting, given that a debate is currently unfurling about the role of glazing in high efficiency buildings, since we have moved away from single glazing in façades that, a few years ago, was synonymous with high electricity bills, glare and thermal discomfort, to the current situation in which 30 years of innovations in the field of design and glass performance have made it possible to create certain thermal properties in glass that are similar to those of walls, and to provide options for the dynamic control of sunlight and natural light. However, building façades require the glass to be integrated into the surrounding frame, means of controlling air leakage and providing ventilation, as well as letting in natural light to reduce the need for electrical lighting, whilst at the same time controlling glare, all in a wide variety of different conditions, from day to night, summer to winter, and north to south.

Sustainability+technology. The vision of Raúl Huitron

Another of the international professionals currently working for the technological integration of renewable energies in construction is the Mexican architect Raúl Huitrón, who, through his company BIOMAH, has worked as an energy efficiency consultant on all kinds of projects: homes, hotels, mixed-use buildings, office blocks and skyscrapers, shopping centres, etc., in Mexico, Spain, China and Colombia.

Huitrón has brought to CIBARQ10 different examples of architecture and consultancy projects carried out by his studio. One of the architecture projects was a Mass-produced sustainable house, a house designed for serial production, for which the first model has just been built to present all its real estate potential and technological applications to the Mexican market. The house is capable of producing the energy it needs through renewable – solar – energy sources. It converts rainwater into drinking water for human consumption, recycles waste-water and is built from recyclable and recycled materials. It is also fitted with photovoltaic and photothermal cells, and has lighting automation systems using cutting-edge technology, as well as wind sensors to open windows.

Brief biography of Stephen Selkowitz and Raúl Huitrón

Stephen Selkowitz

Stephen Selkowitz is a physicist and Director of the Building Technologies Department at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California (EEUU), where he directs research programmes for the development of advanced building techniques, ranging from natural lighting, artificial lighting, energy simulation tools and unique building performance to demand management tools.

Selkowitz has 30 years’ experience in the field of energy use in construction, and has focused his career on developing and implementing high energy efficiency technologies and designing energy concepts. The programme he directs divides its attentions between researching the current state of the issue and the transfer of applied technology; hence the results of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory can be used to the advantage of the construction industry.

Raúl Huitrón

Mexican architect. He lectures in Projects and High Technology at the ITESM Mexico City Campus.

He is the Founder and Director of BIOMAH Architects & Energy Consultants, a Mexican company dedicated to architectural design and consultancy, where the integration of cutting-edge technology focuses on comfort, quality of life and energy savings. To achieve these results, simulation and calculation systems have been incorporated for the behaviour and performance of projects, considering their orientation, building systems, and the technology of the construction systems and materials. BIOMAH Architects & Energy Consultants has worked as a consultancy firm in relation to energy efficiency in buildings in Mexico, Spain and China. BIOMAH has been a member of USGBC since 2008. Its projects include the Sustainable Master Plan for the Corporate Channel in Mexico, winner of the IMEI National Intelligent and Sustainable Building Award 2008.

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