A Few Thoughts on the Decarbonisation of Construction in Portugal

Decarbonization is a new buzzword. It seems like it is replacing sustainability, a very ample, anthropocentric concept*, coined in 1987. Global and European policies are looking to ‘lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions’ by 2030 and 2050 [1]. The ongoing COP26 in Glasgow was the best confirmation. We have seen big words and declarations, many times.Continue reading “A Few Thoughts on the Decarbonisation of Construction in Portugal”

Modelling the effect of windows size

Introduction Window position, size, and type are variables that affect both visual and thermal comfort. Typically, for better thermal comfort we look to minimize fenestration rate (area of windows on the facade). That is, reduce the size of windows (thermal transmittance is lower for walls, for example, 25 cm brickwall + 5 cm of insulationContinue reading “Modelling the effect of windows size”

Recovery and Resilience Plan

The pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the European economy. For several months some of the industries were frozen, many had to shift their business model and offer new services, and digitalization became a fact – not a future plan. As a response to the economic crisis, the European Commission decided to launch ‘the largest stimulusContinue reading “Recovery and Resilience Plan”

Materials for Future Buildings

The New European Bauhaus conference (22-23 April 2021) was inaugurated by a speech by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. She outlined an ambitious plan of challenges and changes that await us in the forthcoming years. Her speech probably surprised most of the participants – they were not prepared for suchContinue reading “Materials for Future Buildings”

Embodied Carbon of HVAC Systems

We’ve mentioned in previous articles how Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of buildings is an engineering problem that is becoming more and more relevant. As action for climate change mitigation becomes more urgent, engineers are looking for more sources of energy savings, that is, opportunities for energy efficiency. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are known to beContinue reading “Embodied Carbon of HVAC Systems”

PV’s Embodied Carbon

Looking back at 2020, one thing will naturally come up in most people’s mind. The pandemic’s reach is global and very much ongoing, with only a handful of countries now flirting with a“back to normal”. Beyond the ubiquitous health crisis, we are all familiar with the economic implications that it brought about as well (Portugal’s GDP dropped aContinue reading “PV’s Embodied Carbon”

Learning from vernacular

When, in 1964, Bernard Rudofsky finally opened the exhibition Architecture without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, he caused quite a stir. The catalogue started a new chapter in modern architecture based on photos and commentary of vernacular construction (that is, knowledge passed on from generation toContinue reading “Learning from vernacular”

Buildings’ Thermal Behaviour: Black, White and Grey Boxes

If an engineer wants to model a building to solve problems in the energy realm, there is not a single, unique way to go about it. There are many methods to choose from to predict a building’s energetic performance. The most important aspect of this practice is typically thermal characterisation. Indoor well being and comfort depend,Continue reading “Buildings’ Thermal Behaviour: Black, White and Grey Boxes”