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Beyond Zero Carbon Housing - Fionn Stevenson


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A one day symposium on zero/low carbon sustainable homes took place at The University of Nottingham on the 24th October, 2012. The event offered professionals within the construction industry a unique opportunity to gain added and significant insight into the innovations, policies and legislation which are driving the construction of zero/low carbon energy efficient homes both here in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. It explored solutions to sustainability issues “beyond” the zero carbon agenda. BZCH followed on from the successful ‘Towards Zero Carbon Housing’ symposium the University hosted in 2007. This event is part of the Europe Wide Ten Act10n project which is supported by the European Commission Intelligent Energy Europe.

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Beyond Zero Carbon Housing - Fionn Stevenson

  1. 1. Beyond ZeroCarbon Housingexploring solutions to sustainability issues beyond the zero carbon agenda2 4 th O c t o b e r 2 0 1 2 a t T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f N o t t i n g h a mDepartment of Architecture and Built Environment
  2. 2. © Copyright Notice A l l t h e m a te r i a l i n t h e s e s l i d e sm ay n o t b e u s e d o r re p ro d u c e d w i t h o u t t h e ex p re s s p e r m i s s i o n o f t h e a u t h o rs
  3. 3. Designing for peopleProf. Fionn StevensonUniversity of SheffieldBeyond Zero Carbon Housing 24th October 2012The University of Nottingham
  4. 4. The UK intentions....‘Zero carbon housing’ (regulated emissions only...) = 70% reduction on CO2?PassivHaus standard = 15kWh for heating, lighting, ventilation (120KWh overall)‘Smart housing’‘Integrated design’‘Changing behaviour’ Greenwatt Way PRP architectshappy occupants....(anybody home.....?)
  5. 5. The UK reality.... in new homesoverheating in homes, especially in urban areas..... unwanted heat gainspoor cross-ventilationpoor indoor air qualitymalfunctioning, unintegrated new technologyunintelligible design (‘dumb housing’)unusable products and buildingsunhappy occupants...
  6. 6. Current thinking in carbon reductionIncreasing emphasis on user behaviourto explain the gap between Intentionand realityDanger of ‘blaming the user’……notdesignMore work needed on evaluatingthe underlying usability of the designand how needs are defined
  7. 7. How do humans work?we are a product of millions of years of evolution....fine-tuned monitoringwe have primitive instincts and habits......hunter , gatherer, farmerwe operate through our senses and conceptual modelswe are always meaning-making with whatever we have to handwe are programmed for change, not continuity
  8. 8. How do humans work – mark 2We want to conserve our own energyWe tend to go for the easiest option‘Your nearest, so you do it...’On-demand, all the time...hidden charges.
  9. 9. Computer use UK homes - 2010 Coleman, 2011
  10. 10. Design issues with standbySlow activation timePhysical location of socketsNetworking requirementsPoor controlsLack of knowledgePoor manuals
  11. 11. Affordance - design interfacesGibson’s ‘affordances’ = perceived and actual properties of things, which determine how they can be used. The user knows what to do by sensing.a chair ‘affords’ sittinga window ‘affords’ openingWhat you see is what you getDo digital technologiesreally do this for energy use?
  12. 12. Evaluating usability – the six criteriaClarity of purposeIntuitive designLabellingEase of useFeedbackDegree of fine control ‘Controls for end users’ Bordass, Leaman and Bunn
  13. 13. Key control touchpoints in the homeHeating programmer, VDU, switches, dialsVentilation windows, doors, handles, hinges, trickle vents, ventilation units, switches, dials, VDU, filters, ductsLighting switches, VDU, light bulbs, shading, control panels,Water taps, plugs, showers, baths, dials, switchesLets look at some in use....
  14. 14. Evaluating usability in BPE –woodstove controlsWood pellet boiler Description and location: living room, main heat source, Usability criteria Poor Excellent Clarity of purpose Intuitive switching Labelling and annotation Ease of use Indication of system response Degree of fine control Comments The wood pellet stove provides room heat and heated water to an accumulator tank in the roof space. Additionally the solar thermal panels provide heat to the tank and there is also an immersion heater. There is a panel in the airing cupboard which indicates the tank temperatures- top and bottom- but although this accuately regsiters heat from the solar panels and the immersion heater it does not relate to heat from the pellet boiler so it requires trial and error to control the whole system.
  15. 15. Evaluating usability in BPE -woodstove
  16. 16. Evaluating usability in BPE –ventilation controldiffusers Description and location: diffusers in kitchen, bathrooms and ground floor WC ( GF WC one is not present in No 2) Usability criteria Poor Excellent Clarity of purpose Intuitive switching Labelling and annotation n/a Ease of use Indication of system response Degree of fine control Comments Diffusers extract air only. No instructions were given for adjustment and the commissioning of system was carried out by an OBU consultant. A fair degree of fine control can be achieved by spinning the inner disc. The vent gives no indication of whether it is actually extracting air or not.
  17. 17. Evaluating usability in BPE -watersink taps Description and location: Usability criteria Poor Excellent Clarity of purpose Intuitive switching Labelling and annotation Ease of use Indication of system response Degree of fine control Comments There are no indications of movement for hot or cold water ot labelling. This is a highly non-intuitive piece of equipment, although the movement is good.
  18. 18. Conceptual model of how things workOur concept of how things work and their meaning is based on:past experiencehabitinstinctsensememorylogicculturephysical contextfeedbackWe try to ‘make sense ‘ of controls with whatever faulty information we have.....not always logical!
  19. 19. Conceptual congruency in design designer user design model user model system system image Norman, 86
  20. 20. Usable design –mappingMapping = relationship between two things e.g. controls and results in worldNatural mapping = immediate understanding from culture, biology, perceptionMapping problems = cognitive dissonance (‘does not compute, not logical counterintuitive..’) – no direct spatial relationship
  21. 21. Things that go wrong with usabilitytoo many features –too much informationsmaller and faster is not always betterover automationhumans are irrational - users blame themselvesor wrong cause
  22. 22. Usable design – feedbackmake feedback visible to tell user what is going onprovide accurate, embodied , feedbackprovide more feedback, less features
  23. 23. Moving on from affordance to learningaffordance is ‘What you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) – physicalhumans work conceptually also, and through time – we learn how to use thingsproducts and buildings have emergent properties which create a relationship with theusermaximum usability is when emergent properties reveal themselves easilye.g. one thing leads to another – exploring a door handle....
  24. 24. Durable design increases usabilityavoid perfection – make design scratchablemake design cherishableincrease the meaning through memoryavoid waste –embody habit over timedesign for discovery not ‘cover up’
  25. 25. Co-evolutionarydesignpositive emergence throughadaptive opportunitieswith accurate feedbackdesign for users to interactwith building and learn with it
  26. 26. But how much can the user take?Autonomous energy systems mean:Individual maintenanceIndividual replacementIndividual servicingTransportation of small systemsto individual homesIs this the most efficient way?
  27. 27. Access and maintenance of PVsDoes PV system tell occupant when it is notworking?Is there an easy way to access and replacepanels?Is the transformer sited somewhere where itwill not disturb occupants?Is there room for all the kit??
  28. 28. Energy use – scale and efficiencyMany energy systems work best at neighbourhood/campus level = 10,000 peopleSolar PV – best at regional level = 10 million peopleSolar thermal – best at campus level = 10,000 peopleDistrict heatingDistrict cooling – best at city level = 1 million peopleTrigenerationHeat pumps – best at building levelThe only energy system which is more efficient at the level of a building is a micro- grid system
  29. 29. Usability in design – the cinderella factor?testing for usability only occurs in aminority of key touch point productslab tests are not user testsarchitectural education does not teachusability at the level of the user
  30. 30. Key challenges....situating user values within designunderstanding how humans workin designmaintaining place-based approachglobalisation of resource usearchitectural education….include the user in design
  31. 31. Thank you …any questions? Anybody know how this thing works ??For more information please visit: