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Evaluation of innovative active solar building features.

Anda, M., Bermudez-Contreras, A., James, G., Ho, G. and Mathew, K. (2004) Evaluation of innovative active solar building features. In: World Renewable Energy Congress VIII, 29 August - 3 September, Denver, Colorado, USA.


In order to fulfil its role, the ETC has recently constructed an innovative office, laboratory and exhibition complex (Waalitj complex). The construction of the complex aimed at several objectives; among them are: to demonstrate a cost-effective, functional facility based on ecologically sustainable design principles; and also, for each of the buildings, to be a simple model for residential and small commercial developments in urban, rural and remote environments. The complex incorporates passive solar strategies, energy efficient construction materials, and a number of advanced technologies. Several of the characteristics integrated in the new buildings were new and largely unproven in Western Australia. Therefore, a number of studies on the use of waste materials for construction, thermal performance of the heating and cooling systems, and performance of the PV system have been undertaken. Success has been found in the incorporation of low-embodied-energy waste materials for its construction, the incorporation of some passive solar design principles, and the generation of PV electricity. However, weaknesses have also been pinpointed. These include poor thermal performance of the office building (at times when active features are not working); excessive thermal mass in walls; insufficient shading; large heat losses through windows; as well as some faults in the monitoring systems. These studies identified required improvements in the insulation, shading, ventilation, cooling and heating mechanisms, monitoring systems, and metering capacity. This paper will provide lessons learnt and recommendations on how to successfully integrate the active components in future buildings.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: Environmental Technology Centre
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