PhD title: Optimising the relationship between passive solar design of new housing and the economics of construction and land value
The focus of mass housing developments built by speculative developers in the UK has broadly been on maximising density whilst retaining a predominantly detached housing form. This economically led strategy, aimed at maximising sale values, can conflict with the aim of radically reducing environmental impacts. For example by creating very closely spaced, deep, narrow frontage houses, which may not optimise solar design.
Whilst a variety of products have been developed to enable design professionals to model and assess the environmental performance (especially in energy use terms) of individual buildings, there are currently no tools for modelling the performance of whole developments, based on variables such as site layout, density, orientation, topography, etc. Using passive solar design as an exemplar for sustainable development offers the opportunity to improve the environmental, spatial and aesthetic performance of speculative developments.
This thesis describes the development of a tool for planners and developers to optimise the passive solar characteristics of housing developments through an environmental site assessment, encouraging the use of basic environmental techniques early in the design process. In this thesis the characteristics of passive solar design are ascertained and a tool is developed that can show, quantitatively and visually, the savings that passive solar design can achieve compared to more ‘standard’ modern speculative developments.
This thesis is one small step in the development of a tool to encourage sustainable design through the entire design process from an early stage. It has used passive solar design of mass, speculative housing in the north east of Scotland as a starting point for a tool which, it is hoped, can in future encompass wider aspects of the complex field of sustainable design.
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