Towards a new paradigm: Design strategies for architecture, energy and climate change using Danish office buildings as a case study

Rob Marsh, Vibeke Grupe Larsen, Jake Hacker


This paper argues that the understanding of architecture again needs to be widened if the architectural profession is to play an active role in combating climate change. The paper therefore examines past, present and future challenges for building energy consumption in Denmark as the basis for developing a new paradigm for zero-energy architecture. There has been a radical transformation in building energy consumption over the last 30 years, with an absolute reduction in heat consumption and a rapid growth in electricity consumption, reflecting wider technological and social transformations in the movement from an industrial to a knowledge-based society. In new offices it is shown that electricity consumption now dominates
the total primary energy consumption, whilst at the same time, climate change means that rising temperatures will result in falling heat demand and increasing cooling demand in the future. With this background, a new paradigm for zeroenergy architecture is developed that reflects the architectural design process. In this way, the architectural focus early in the design process on functional disposition, spatial quality and built form can act as the driving force in the movement towards zero-energy architecture that has good daylighting and indoor comfort, and is adapted to future climate change.

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