Micro-climate modification and potential for reduction in summertime over-heating in social housing, South Wales (UK)
Environmental design issues in newly built housing, provide the context for this research. It is concerned with microclimatic conditions and their possible influence on internal comfort conditions. Summertime overheating currently experienced in newly built housing is the central issue, and how this may be intensified by predicted climate change. This research aims to gain a greater understanding of how elements in that external environment interact with the built form of a dwelling, how this interaction can be assessed, and how any beneficial effect on the internal conditions can be measured.
A newly built social housing unit provides a case study. The house is modelled, and its performance tested using building simulation techniques. The likely performance under current summertime conditions is evaluated against its performance under future climate scenarios. Summertime overheating is established as a current issue, and one whose significance is likely to increase with climate change. Modifications to the external environment are investigated using a microclimatic modelling tool.
The work investigates the relative impact of soft and hard surface landscape treatment in the immediate external environment. It considers the solar shading provided by the introduction of suburban scale garden trees, the natural ventilation provided to a typical domestic living space, and how internal conditions may be impacted by this intervention. This is approached by the use of further building performance simulations, using weather data adjusted to take account of local influences. The use of ‗bespoke weather data‘ designed to reflect more closely the actual conditions experienced by a specific site and location, presents an opportunity to increase the relevance and usefulness of building performance simulation. Calculated natural ventilation studies explore how the shading introduced by the addition of Field Maple trees interacts with the natural ventilation process, and allows an evaluation of the impact on internal conditions.
- School of Art and Design