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Vassiliades, C.; Minterides, C.; Astara, O.; Barone, G.; Vardopoulos, I. Bioclimatic Building Design. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 20 April 2024).
Vassiliades C, Minterides C, Astara O, Barone G, Vardopoulos I. Bioclimatic Building Design. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 20, 2024.
Vassiliades, Constantinos, Christos Minterides, Olga-Eleni Astara, Giovanni Barone, Ioannis Vardopoulos. "Bioclimatic Building Design" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 20, 2024).
Vassiliades, C., Minterides, C., Astara, O., Barone, G., & Vardopoulos, I. (2024, February 20). Bioclimatic Building Design. In Encyclopedia.
Vassiliades, Constantinos, et al. "Bioclimatic Building Design." Encyclopedia. Web. 20 February, 2024.
Bioclimatic Building Design

Bioclimatic building design emerges as a holistic approach to sustainable architecture that integrates the built environment with natural elements. Bioclimatic building design’s capacity to significantly reduce energy consumption, enhance occupant well-being, and shape sustainable behavior has been well documented in existing research. 

bioclimatic design sustainable architecture sustainable building

1. Introduction

The world is facing an unprecedented and urgent threat from the dangers of global warming, which calls for swift and well-coordinated action to properly limit its far-reaching and potentially disastrous effects [1]. In recognition of the extreme seriousness of this situation, the international community has established an important and audacious objective: limiting the increase in global temperature to a maximum of 1.5 °C by 2030 [2][3]. The achievement of this bold goal is highly dependent on gaining a comprehensive and detailed comprehension of the energy consumption trends in every economic sector, since each one makes a distinct and substantial contribution to the global carbon footprint [4]. Furthermore, it is critical to put into place and uphold comprehensive energy policies that fiercely support both increased energy efficiency and the broad adoption and integration of cutting-edge, sustainable renewable energy technology [5][6]. Thus, it is imperative to have a thorough and complex recognition of how energy is currently utilized, to identify which industries consume the greatest amount of energy, and to strategically develop and apply methods that have been thoroughly studied to reduce and maximize consumption. As a necessary part of this process, current social attitudes and beliefs regarding energy efficiency and the wider integration of renewable energy production must be carefully examined and questioned [7][8].
Nowadays, global primary energy consumption has exceeded the threshold of 178,000 TWh/year. This huge quantity is allocated nearly equally and proportionately among various economic sectors (i.e., 40% to industry, 32% to buildings, and 28% to transportation), as reported in the energy production and consumption report [9]. In recent decades, scientists and researchers have made great efforts to strengthen and support sustainable energy transitions in a variety of industries. Industries that have a significant impact on the environment, including the iron and steel sector and the cement business utilizing biomass, have been subject to notable and rigorous regulations [10][11][12][13]. Similarly, similar approaches to successfully reduce and limit pollution emissions across multiple infrastructure sectors are also being carefully considered and evaluated [14][15][16][17], including transportation systems [18][19][20], and residential communities [21][22][23]. The strategic and essential deployment of hydrogen as a versatile energy vector is increasingly acknowledged as a key approach for the overall and thorough decarbonization of all sectors, serving as a solution and a feasible alternative to minimize the dependence on fossil fuels [24][25][26]. There are several innovative and useful approaches to producing hydrogen using renewable energy sources and/or wisely recovering energy from waste heat that are currently known and being investigated [27][28][29]. But the effectiveness of these complex plans and solutions is still glaringly obvious: they depend on the development and implementation of careful national policies as well as sophisticated government regulations. The complex environment of the building industry is a striking manifestation of the widespread influence of deeply rooted cultural customs and practices. According to the detailed statistical insights provided by the International Energy Agency’s thorough research of the energy balance, buildings are directly responsible for more than one-third of all energy end-use [30]. Because of their very nature and purpose, buildings are clearly recognized as the primary energy consumers, accounting for a staggering 40% of the total energy consumption in the European Union. It becomes abundantly clear that tackling these enormous and complex issues requires a globally coordinated effort, requiring extensive legislative changes, ground-breaking technical developments, and an essential behavioral shift toward the widespread adoption of more environmentally friendly and sustainable practices [31].
Various strategies have been proposed to reduce building energy use and emissions, including stringent building codes, energy efficiency standards for appliances and lighting, smart meters and controls, and on-site renewable energy systems like solar thermal collectors (STC) [32][33][34] and photovoltaics (PV) [35][36][37]. However, one promising but underutilized approach is bioclimatic building design [38][39][40][41]. This concept leverages passive heating, cooling, ventilation, daylighting, and other techniques to minimize the need for mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting systems. Well-designed bioclimatic buildings can remarkably reduce energy demands while maintaining excellent indoor environmental quality [42][43][44]. The core idea behind bioclimatic architecture is designing buildings tailored to the local climate [45][46]. This involves strategies such as optimizing orientation to maximize southern solar gains [47], careful window placement for daylighting [48], shading and natural ventilation [49], passive solar heating systems [50], evaporative cooling [51], thermal mass storage [52], insulation, and microclimate improvements around the building [53][54]. Such techniques take advantage of natural flows of heat, air, moisture, and light within the environment to maximize occupant comfort [55][56]. This bioclimatic approach was commonly used in vernacular architectural traditions well adapted to local conditions prior to modern heating and cooling technologies [57]. The Mediterranean climate of Cyprus, characterized by hot, dry summers and cooler winters with moderate rainfall, is particularly well suited to bioclimatic principles. Passive solar heating, thermal mass, window placement, and shading can limit winter heating needs, while natural ventilation, evaporative cooling, and shade can reduce summer cooling demands [58][59].

2. Bioclimatic Building Design

Sustainable construction stands as a critical response to the environmental challenges of our time. It seeks to reconcile the built environment with nature and, in doing so, presents innovative approaches such as bioclimatic design, which represents a cornerstone of sustainable architecture.
At its core, bioclimatic design embodies a profound understanding of the intrinsic connection between the built environment and the natural world [35]. It acknowledges that the natural elements, including climate, topography, solar angles, and prevailing winds, can profoundly influence a building’s performance. By harnessing these factors, architects and designers can create structures that seamlessly integrate with their surroundings, achieving not only energy efficiency but also harmony with nature [60].
One of the most compelling advantages of bioclimatic design is its inherent ability to drastically reduce energy consumption [61]. Bioclimatic buildings exhibit significantly lower energy needs compared to their conventionally designed counterparts. This substantial energy savings arises from a synergetic blend of passive design strategies, state-of-the-art materials, and innovative technologies [62].
For instance, meticulous attention to insulation and the utilization of high-performance windows and doors drastically minimizes heat transfer, thus diminishing the reliance on mechanical heating and cooling systems. Furthermore, the incorporation of thermal mass in building materials facilitates the moderation of indoor temperatures, further decreasing energy requirements.
Beyond energy efficiency, bioclimatic design prioritizes the well-being and comfort of occupants. Buildings designed with these principles invariably feature abundant natural daylighting, effective cross-ventilation, and thoughtful spatial arrangements [63]. Such design elements collectively create a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment, with quantifiable benefits for the physical and psychological health of occupants. Studies have demonstrated that well-illuminated, naturally ventilated spaces can significantly enhance productivity and overall satisfaction among building users. Different research confirmed that incorporating bioclimatic design strategies, such as integrating natural ventilation and maximizing daylight, leads to significant enhancements in residents’ satisfaction and comfort levels [64][65]. Therefore, the bioclimatic design ought to not only enhance comfort but also actively promote sustainable behavior among users, thereby fostering an environment conducive to learning from the built surroundings [66]. Furthermore, a study conducted in the context of Ghadames, Libya, revealed that occupants of older houses expressed thermal satisfaction with indoor comfort conditions, signifying that traditional bioclimatic design strategies can effectively deliver comfort even in the context of desert architecture [67].
Nevertheless, it is imperative to acknowledge that the efficacy of bioclimatic design is contingent upon a constellation of factors. Regional climate conditions, site-specific considerations, and local regulations exert a profound influence on the appropriateness and feasibility of bioclimatic design strategies [68]. What proves successful in one geographical location may necessitate adaptation or alteration when applied elsewhere. Therefore, a nuanced, context-sensitive approach that accounts for the specific conditions of each project is paramount [69].
Indeed, findings from the published scholarly literature underscore the paramount importance of integrating regional climate conditions, site-specific factors, and local regulations into bioclimatic design strategies. The seminal work provides a comprehensive exploration of the bioclimatic approach to architectural regionalism, delving into essential elements like site selection, solar orientation, and the thermal properties of building materials. In a study focused on the Lhasa region of Tibet, there is a meticulous application of bioclimatic design principles, considering factors such as temperature, humidity, solar radiation, and air velocity. The research also includes an analysis of the structure and materials employed in traditional dwellings [70]. Likewise, another study contributes to the field by developing bioclimatic building design charts tailored to various climatic zones in China, offering specific guidance for heating, cooling, and ventilation strategies [71]. Tailored building regulations for warm-dry climates in Mexico were also proposed for extending the applicability of bioclimatic design [72]. These regulations encompass a spectrum of mandatory, optional, and incentivized requirements, all geared towards enhancing energy efficiency, environmental comfort, and the incorporation of low-water-consumption vegetation.
Furthermore, bioclimatic design stands out as a potent catalyst for influencing user behavior towards sustainability, as evidenced by the literature. Barghini (2019) underscores its pivotal role in fostering sustainable behavior among building occupants—a crucial first step towards sustainability [66]. Jamaludin’s research (2016) reinforces this perspective, highlighting the profound positive impact of bioclimatic design on user satisfaction and perceptions [73]. His findings emphasize that bioclimatic design not only remains relevant but also excels in meeting contemporary living demands while simultaneously enhancing energy efficiency. Moreover, Jamaludin’s earlier work (2013) delves into the tangible benefits of implementing bioclimatic design principles within residential colleges, culminating in increased comfort and contentment among residents [64]. Košir’s comprehensive introduction to bioclimatic design (2019) underscores the fundamental importance of harmonizing building design with the environment and inhabitants’ needs, ultimately resulting in sustainable structures [74]. These studies collectively reveal that bioclimatic design transcends mere energy efficiency; it positively shapes user behavior by affording comfort and efficiency in built environments. Moreover, the literature suggests that bioclimatic design education and support constitute effective avenues for promoting sustainable and creative architectural design. Kowaltowski’s work (2007) intriguingly demonstrates that the constraints imposed by bioclimatic design principles can serve as catalysts for creativity during the design process [75]. Radovic (1996) outlines a curriculum that places a strong emphasis on bioclimatic urban and architectural design [76], while Maciel (2007) stresses the significance of integrating bioclimatic concepts into architects’ design philosophy through formal education [77]. Evans (1990) introduces a specialized course for architectural students in Argentina, skillfully incorporating bioclimatic concepts into the design teaching process [78]. This approach allows students to explore the diverse character of designs in various regional contexts. In sum, the literature consistently underscores that bioclimatic design education and support wield considerable influence in promoting both sustainable and creative architectural design practices.


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