“Buildings consume more than 45% of the energy in a typical community, and if the energy for travel between residence and work is included, the ratio increases to 75%.” (Transsolar GmbH)
For my individual project, I will work on studying the advantages of introducing climate engineering as a tool to increase user comfort, promote sustainability and provide a financial solution for an existing school facility in Bekaa, Lebanon. Bekaa is an elevated valley with different climatic characteristics over the year which includes both a hot arid summer season and a cold winter season. This requires the development of unique comfort strategies relevant for each season. I selected this site because it combines characteristics of both the typical Lebanese mountainous terrain climate, which covers more than 70% of the country, and the hot arid climate, which prevails around the year in the adjacent region. Therefore the strategies I develop can be implemented in these diverse regional contexts.
I am focusing on a school for two main reasons of interest. First, through developed comfort strategies students will understand the importance of sustainability and will have a chance to get a better quality of education (comfort-productivity relationship). Second, optimizing energy consumption for a facility with a high number of users will have a drastic impact on the energy bill. Consequently, schools are also likely to be keener to adopt and realize the proposed strategies.
To carry out my project, I will first assess the existing envelope and HVAC systems and the behavior of the school. Later, I will work on reducing the energy required to operate it. The study will also include a cost benefit analysis in which current operation costs of the building will be estimated and compared to cost savings of adopting the presented strategies. The goal will be to provide the existing facility a concrete recommendation to optimize their building performance. ©By Fadi Charaf