Energy design

Photo: Jens Lindhe
The Royal Danish Playhouse in Copenhagen uses seawater and the waste heat from the stage lighting and the audience as a supplement to heating and cooling.
Energy design is about using the building design itself to minimize the need for energy for lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling - in interaction with an eco-friendly energy supply.

The position, shape and layout of the building, as well as the building components and structures, contribute to reducing energy consumption.

Energy design from the start

The utilization of daylight, solar screening and night cooling can often be important steps towards climate-friendly energy design, depending on the building's use and location. To optimize the energy design, the energy solutions should be integrated in the project from the very beginning.

It is often in the early stages that the client, the architect and the engineer make the essential decisions on how to make a building not only energy-friendly but also constructible, functional and aesthetic with a healthy indoor climate.

To achieve an energy-friendly building of good quality the project team has to make important decisions as to the shape of the building, which way the building should face and the type of façade - whether the structure should be an open or closed system. Here the role of the consulting engineer is very important in analyzing and communicating the effect the different possible solutions have on energy use, indoor climate etc.

The sun is important
Office buildings, which often have a great surplus of heat from servers and computers, can reduce the need for cooling during the summer by preventing the heat from the sun. Accordingly, it is a good idea not to have large facades of unshaded glass facing south and west.

The sun, however, is a free and climate-friendly energy source that provides good daylight conditions all year round, and therefore it is an advantage to let the light come in the office building indirectly through an atrium.

In housing, on the other hand, the direct sunlight is quite welcome, as it reduces the energy bill and can increase the comfort and the quality of the indoor climate.

Electricity and climate

Besides the shape of the building, it is also important to consider the type of installations and climate solutions to be integrated in the building.

Is the lighting to be adjusted in relation to the daylight, manually or by movement sensors? Should mechanical or natural ventilation be chosen? Is it possible to exploit the surrounding energy resources?

On the basis of the client's ambitions and wishes, COWI creates an energy concept comprising everything - from the shape of the building and supply of energy to facade design, heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.

LAST UPDATED: 06.10.2017