The energy efficient Goldilocks building


Hamburg Germany
Nicholas Newman Telegraph April 2017

How modern techniques in architecture can help buildings manage hot and cold airflow, improving the working environment.

We all know that large, glass-covered buildings are often too hot in summer and too cold in winter. However, as Prof Derek Clements-Croome at Reading University suggests: “Traditional heavyweight buildings are naturally cool in hot countries, as compared to lightweight modern buildings, which unless well ventilated can be very hot.”

Moreover, when one side of the building gets its temperature just right, it is likely that the rest of the office is suffering. Rather than paying for expensive heating and air conditioning, is it possible to simply manage the airflow within and around the building to get the perfect ambient temperature? Modern architecture says yes – here’s how it works.

For those seeking answers that don’t rely heavily on traditional energy-hungry heating, cooling and ventilation, architects are providing new passive and durable design solutions. To a great extent, these can be divided into preventative and heat modulation techniques.


There are a number of techniques to stop the air in a building from getting hot in the first place. For instance, changing the microclimate in which it is located, by planting trees to shade the building from direct sunlight in summer.1 Trees planted within 40ft of the south side or within 60ft of the west side of a house will generate about the same amount of energy savings (in the northern hemisphere), because of the way shadows fall at different times of the day. Read more

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