Appointment of Next President and Change in Board Committee

The Board is pleased to announce that with effect from 1st January 2022:

(1) Dr. Heide Schuster has been appointed as the President.

(2) Dr. Joana Carla Soares Gonçalves has been appointed as the Vice-President.

(3) Prof. Rajat Gupta has been appointed as the Secretary.

A virtual board meeting was held on Zoom on 30th September 2021.

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Natural Ventilation and Fans for Low Carbon Buildings

Dear PLEA friends,

This is just a thought as you may be now going on to design very low energy buildings – for practice, projects or competitions.  Obviously the longer one can run a building on free local, natural energy the less the energy you have to import into a building through pipes and wires, and the lower the carbon impact of that building.   So a key indicator or a truly low energy building must be how much of a day or year it can be run with resorting to mechanical systems.  I had been concerned that while some of us like to design Star Wars fashion (May the Force be with Us) – others like to nail down calcs for every step of the process. So windows in many locations may need a) security grills or screens (the Japanese are wonderful at these) and b) insect or fly screens.

Continue reading

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PLEA2018 Special Issue at Architectural Science Review was published

The PLEA2018 Special Issue at Architectural Science Review was published online:


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PLEA 2020 conference proceedings are now available

The PLEA 2020 conference proceedings have been uploaded to the official repository of the University of A Coruña.

Title: Planning Post Carbon Cities: 35th PLEA Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture, A Coruña, 1st-3rd September 2020: Proceedings

Author(s): Rodríguez-Álvarez, Jorge
Gonçalves, Joana Carla

ISBN: 978-84-9749-794-7

You can download the proceedings here:

Alternatively, you may access the PLEA proceedings page of this website to download the files (login is required).

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PLEA 2020 – First virtual PLEA Conference

PLEA 2020 – the first virtual PLEA Conference has just finished!

Thank all the participants for joining the conference online and contributing your high-quality work!

Sincere thanks to the PLEA 2020 organising team led by Dr. Jorge Rodríguez Álvarez for all the excellent work and efforts to make the first virtual PLEA conference a great success!

(Photo from PLEA 2020 A Coruña Twitter)
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PLEA Associate Meeting at PLEA 2020

PLEA Associates met online at PLEA 2020. Thank you for all your participation and contribution!

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Household Waste as a Low-Tech Cool Roof Solution. A Vernacular Approach for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategy

A gradual increase in earth’s temperature is becoming a reality faced nowadays. Communities in informal settlements or deprived neighbourhoods living in buildings of poor quality are the most vulnerable to indoor heat stresses. Six test cubes were constructed on the rooftop of a residential building in Cairo, Egypt. Ten different thermal roof insulation ideas were tested and experimented in an urban living lab setting under real climate conditions. The 10 solutions were tested during peak summer hours and their efficiency was monitored along two consequent time intervals, where 5 solutions were monitored at a time. The two best solutions were tested again in winter. This experimental study showed that using reed mats and reed crate with wet burlap can reduce temperatures up to 3.5 degrees compared to conventional roof construction methods. The feasibility of the proposed solutions, their cost efficiency and their maintenance were discussed. We hope this experimental study can be scaled up to help vulnerable groups in informal or deprived areas to reduce their level of suffering from indoor heat stress. Low-tech and low-cost roof insulation can offer adequate thermal comfort for marginalized populations.

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Indoor Farming in Future Living Models

According to a UN report, by 2050, the world’s population will reach around 9.7 billion. This growth, alongside a changing climate, will strain natural resources, especially the food supply chain. There will also be issues in relation to human health, education and well-being, due to people’s growing distance from food supply. Previous projects have sought a solution to these problems through vertical farming. Producing food within an urban environment suggests a different worldview for the next generation of living and a new urban lifestyle. In collaboration with SOM, this project explores the feasibility of using a network of hybrid farms to address London’s growth challenges. The research included solar studies of 3 building geometries in the identified farming zones within the building. The thermal analysis, conducted in studied areas, revealed that the optimum footprint is a square geometry. As an example, the lettuce was chosen to quantify and compare the production potential, food miles, energy and water consumption between the main farming systems. The building’s design maximises daylight and sunlight access in order to produce vegetables using the least amount of artificial energy. In this manner, the hybrid farms minimise energy demand, water consumption, transportation distances and land use.

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Analysis of urban scale factors for data center waste-heat use: Three case studies in Sweden

Data centers (DCs) bring important positive economic impacts to the cities and regions where they are established, however, in exchange of a high electricity consumption, which in the end is transformed into unused waste-heat. Only 10% of the DCs in Sweden utilize their waste-heat by generally plugging it into the district heating (DH) network. Despite having a DH tradition in most of Swedish cities, DC waste-heat utilization is not a rule. Data center strategical planning and urban strategical planning should be well coordinated, in order to offer alternative strategies to integrate the DCs waste-heat inside the local sectors/ services constellation in need of heat. Therefore this paper will focus on understanding how the urban planning practice can support DC’s waste heat utilization by proposing an urban scale analytical approach to identify factors in relation to spatial and energy resource planning at a municipal level that may facilitate the DCs’ waste heat utilization in cities.

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Life Cycle Cost and Carbon Appraisal for a Prefabricated Residential Development in London

This paper provides an overview of the opportunities for renewable energy generation and low-carbon solutions in a prefabricated residential development (which includes some commercial space) in London. Its objective is to identify the optimum design of mechanical and electrical (M&E) plant and energy solution configurations. As well as technical appraisals and assessments of compliance with planning policies, a broad comparison of the capital cost and life cycle cost (LCC) of different options is carried out. To assess the costs, specifically the energy costs, and the carbon implications of various design scenarios, this study has reviewed the capital costs as well as the operational costs (cost in use) of applying various renewable and low carbon energy technologies to different primary heating strategies, over a 30-year life cycle. This is the same period included within the operational model. Accordingly, scenarios involving the use of electricity, gas and air source heat pumps (ASHPs) were examined and compared. The results suggest that ASHPs have the lowest energy and carbon emissions but high LCC, while the gas plant option has the lowest capital and maintenance costs.

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